Chapter Ritual Tools

The cauldron is ringed with flowers Point the athame skyward and project energy Float a flower in the water-filled cup and scry the future Cauldrons, thames, and cups-these are a few of the tools that Wiccans use in their religious and magical rituals. Some of these may appear to be ordinary household objects, and indeed they can be. Few houses lack brooms or knives. Large, round-bottomed cast iron pots are still to be seen on dusty shelves or in cob-webbed attics. And cups of every shape and...

Introduction

The curtains in the upper-class home are drawn against prying eyes. Candles gleam in the living room. Incense smoke swirls. Robed figures, chanting in a long-dead language, whirl around a rustic wooden table. On it, between the candles, sit sacred images a robust Goddess wearing a crescent Moon on Her forehead, a God holding a spear in His upraised hand. All movement stops. A woman standing near the alter says In this sacred space and time We call now the Old Ones The Goddess of the...

Esbats

The Moon is an ancient symbol of the Goddess. Countless religions have recognized it with rites and ceremonies. Contemporary Wiccans often gather (if coven members) on nights of the Full Moon every 28 days for worship and magical ritual. This doesn't mean that they worship the Moon. Wiccans see in the Moon a symbol of the Goddess, not Her face. The Moon's dramatic cycle of waxing and waning long ago attracted religious awe from peoples attuned with nature. Wiccans may admire the Moon's beauty,...

Folk Magic

Folk magic was born in an age of wonder. Tens of thousands of years ago, nature was a mysterious force. Points of light swung far overhead in the sky. Invisible energies ruffled matted hair and kicked up dust storms. Water fell from above. Powerful forces, inconceivable to those early humans, sent flashes of light from the clouds, blasting trees into raging infernos. Women miraculously bore young. Blood was sacred. Food was sacred. Water, the Earth, plants, animals, the wind, and all that...

The Circle Of Stones

The Circle of Stones is used during indoor rituals, for energy raising, meditation and so First, cleanse the area with the ritual broom. For this circle you will need four large flat stones. If you have none, candles can be used to mark the four cardinal points of the circle. White or purple candles can be used, as can colors related to each direction-green for North, yellow for East, red for South, and blue for West. (Different traditions relate the colors and directions in other ways. This is...

Glossary

Italicized terms within the body of each discussion refer to other related entries in the glossary. Akasha The fifth element-the omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe. It is the energy out of which the Elements formed. Athame A Wiccan ritual knife. It usually has a double blade and a black handle. The athame is used to direct Personal Power during Ritual workings. It is seldom (if ever) used for actual physical cutting. The term, of obscure origin, has many variant spellings...

Wicca

Remember that few Wiccans agree with one another regarding ritual practices. The same is true of Wiccan authors. Few Wiccan traditions are in complete agreement with the methods of others. Because authors write what they know best, each book may seem to represent true Wicca, even though the authors' descriptions of the religion are totally different. Though they're all members of the same religion, they are still individuals. Wicca is a personal religion. However, to be sure that the Witchcraft...

The Sabbat

Whereas Esbats are determined by the Moon, Sabbats recognize the shifting of the seasons. They're connected with old European planting and harvesting rites and ancient hunting ceremonies, as well as with the solstices and equinoxes. These are sometimes known as days of power, or high days. And though daytime rituals would seem to be preferred for solar festivals, most Sabbats are held at night. For covens these are times to gather and work their rites, a time to be reminded of the passing of...

Chapter Consciousness Rites

A few years ago a man wrote a book about runes. His publisher ingeniously packaged the short book with a set of small ceramic squares etched with runes. The item, introduced just before Christmas as a gift set, sold beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Shirley MacLaine, a famous actress, singer, and dancer, wrote the latest installment of her multi-volume autobiography and introduced much of the United States to the doctrine of reincarnation. A later book-as well as a television miniseries based on...

Releasing The Circle

(After Wiccan rituals it's customary to release or disperse the circle to return the area to normalcy. I've heard of few traditions that fail to do this.) Once the rite is ended, face North, hold aloft the wand and say Farewell, Spirit of the North Stone. I give thanks for your presence here. Repeat this same formula to the East, South, and West, substituting the proper direction in the words. Then return to the North and hold the wand aloft for a few moments. Lay the wand on the altar. Take up...

The Horned One The Harvest King

I am the radiant King of the Heavens, flooding the Earth with warmth and encouraging the hidden seed of creation to burst forth into manifestation. I life My shining spear to light the lives of all beings and daily pour forth My gold upon the Earth, putting to flight the powers of darkness. I am the master of the beasts wild and free. I run with the swift stag and soar as a sacred falcon against the shimmering sky. The ancient woods and wild places emanate my powers and the birds of the air...

Days of Power The See Sabbat

Deosil Clockwise, or the direction in which the shadow on a sundial moves as the Sun moves across the sky. In northern hemisphere magic, deosil movement is symbolic of life, positive energies, good. It is much used in spells and rituals i.e., walk deosil around the Circle of Stones. Some Wiccan groups below the equator, notably in Australia, have switched from deosil to Widdershins motions in their rituals. See also Widdershins. Divination The magical art of discovering the unknown by...

What is the truth about Witchcraft today

For centuries, organized religions have perpetuated lies about the ancient practice of Witchcraft. To this day, many misinformed people think that Witches worship Satan, perform human sacrifices, participate in sex orgies, and use drugs. In The Truth About Witchcraft Today, Scott Cunningham puts these common misconceptions to rest by showing that Witches are women and men from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and religious upbringings. They have found Wicca (Witchcraft) to be the only...

Contemporary Wicca

Adler, Margot Drawing Down the Moon Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers and Other Pagans in America Today New York Viking, 1979. An inside, informed look at Wicca and Paganism. An updated version has recently been published. Photographs. Buckland, Raymond Witchcraft From the Inside St. Paul Llewellyn Publications, 1971. One of the earliest American books on Wicca, this is an explication of so-called Gardnerian Wicca. Photographs. Buckland, Raymond Witchcraft. . . The Religion Bay Shore, New...

Lady of the Moon Earth Mother Sister of Power

I am the Great Mother, worshiped by all creation and existent prior to their consciousness. I am the primal female force, boundless and eternal. I am the chaste Goddess of the Moon, the Lady of all magic. The winds and moving leaves sing My name. I wear the crescent Moon upon My brow and My feet rest among the starry heavens. I am a field untouched by the plow. Rejoice in Me and know the fullness of youth. I am the blessed Mother, the gracious Lady of the harvest. I am clothed with the deep,...

Chapter The Religion Of Wicca

The people come together on a wooded hill beside the Missouri river. Stars wink and glow around the Full Moon high above the circling trees. Within the ancient oaks, fireflies buzz and flash their eerie light. The night air is still, hushed. Forty people surround a blazing fire, hands linked, their attention directed toward the woman who stands before the blaze. Outlined by the leaping flames she begins an invocation to the Goddess. The words, soft at first and then stronger, clearer, spill...

Chapter Initiation

There are many ways to become a Wiccan. None of them, despite outsider's lies, involve the renunciation of the candidate's former religion. In the recent past Wicca was primarily a secret, initiatory religion. In this traditional Wicca, most practitioners were members of covens see Chapter 10 . Covens are small groups of Wiccans who meet for study, worship, and magic. Some of these covens were primarily training organizations with varying memberships. As candidates learned the basics of ritual...

Love

It's truly sad to think of how many people are desperately seeking love-usually in all the wrong places. They'll look for it in the eyes of strangers and at bars and parties they'll search it out on sidewalks and in the frozen foods section of grocery stores. Thoughts of love may consume their entire lives at the expense of everything else. When they do find it, love is all too fleeting-an intimate dinner, a few nights of erotic heat, a series of phone calls and lunches. Then, just as they...

Religious Magic

Religious magic is that which is performed in the name of, or with the assistance of, Deity. It has been practiced by peoples all over the world, at all times in history, and it still has a vigorous following. In earlier ages deities representing the fields, the mountains, springs, and woods were invoked during magic. The Moon and Sun were thought of as deities or symbols of them , and were called upon during magical ritual. This was perhaps the purest form of religious magic. Prayer is the...

Chants Words and Poetry

The breath, as well as the sounds formed with it, is an integral part of folk magic. To the ancient Hawaiians, the power used in magic was known as mana. Every aspect of nature and the human body-especially the breath-was infused with mana. Thus chants were carefully stated during spells and rituals, for the words themselves contained the power of breath. This same idea is found the world over, and may have originated in prehistoric times. When speech had developed to the point where it gained...