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 it-brought the concept of channeling to millions of people.

Morning talk shows, newspapers, and Time magazine discussed the energies lying within crystals. Stockbrokers and lawyers revealed that they kept large quartz crystals in their offices.

People around the world recently gathered at "power spots" and "vortexes" to experience the "Harmonic Convergence," and the press covered it extensively with their ubiquitous sarcasm and humor.

Just a few days ago, as I write this book, a book was published that revealed that Nancy Reagan consults an astrologer. From 1981-1988 she ran the White House and President Reagan's appointments by the stars.

Everywhere around us, people are opening their minds. Long-forgotten practices are being dusted off and examined for possible contemporary yses. Persons are investigating the powers of the mind, of the Earth, of stones and herbs. Many are looking at past lives, searching for clues to unlock the mysteries of our existence.

Consciousness is indeed arising. Orthodox religions- those that teach that the world is evil and illusory, that human beings have no power, or hope of achieving anything beyond peace within their Deity-are losing ground. Hundreds of thousands are expanding their lives and their world-views.

What has been termed the New Age has arrived. In some ways it's a high-tech echo of the occult renaissance that occurred from 1966 to 1974 in the United States and Great Britain. Powerful marketing campaigns are bringing age-old tools such as tarot decks, rune-stones, and crystals to millions of new and interested customers.

Many tools and processes have been embraced by the New Age-channeling, crystals, re-birthing, herbs, pyramid power, past-life regression, meditation, neurolinguistic programming, yoga, and a host of others. Some of these are spiritual, some are psychological and others are magical in nature. But try to call a New Age person a Witch, or even a magician, and you're likely to be ridiculed and decried as a close-minded person.

However, traces of folk magic are alive in the New Age. Crystal workers, who usually engage in healing practices, are using age-old forms of folk magic. Persons who burn incense or otherwise utilize herbs are also following ancient rites. Pyramid power uses artificially constructed devices to concentrate the energy of the Earth. Though persons who work with these tools may not call themselves magicians, they are.

Recently, a woman came up to me after I'd taught a class in crystal magic. Smiling, she explained to me that she'd been using stones for healing others for several years. "I always wondered what magic was all about. Now I realize I've been practicing it all along," she said.

Magic wasn't what she'd expected. She didn't know that it was the process of moving natural energies to manifest needed goals. Not everyone involved in the New Age performs such acts, but many of them do.

Wiccans and folk magicians aren't necessarily partakers of New Age consciousness. They existed long before the media buildup occurred, and will be around after the excitement and megadollars have gone. To some outsiders though, they're all one and the same-enemies of "true" religion.

Magicians and Wiccans are drawn to "Old Age" tools and rituals. They don't necessarily channel entities. To many of them, the New Age is a watered-down version of ancient magical and spiritual processes which use the mechanized tools of the computer age. Many particularly decry the rising prices of such things as stones and herbs, as interest in them increases.

Despite this, it's certain that all this excitement has nudged many materialists into expanding their intellectual and spiritual horizons. New Age ideas have opened new avenues to vistas filled with wonders and occult ("hidden") knowledge, and have turned people's eyes away from their LCD watches and compact disc players to the mysteries of life and the Earth. In this sense, the New Age has certainly had a profound impact on contemporary American society.

Though some persons let go of their earlier prejudices and take up the practice of folk magic or Wicca, many of them still cling to quasi-Christian symbolism. They may attend "Christian" Spiritual churches, or mediate upon the images of Jesus as a crystal while using its magic. The word "God" (capital G, with its unexpressed concept of male divinity) is frequently used in New Age books. Stores catering to this movement often fail to stock magical texts.

This is fine and understandable. Those from traditional religious backgrounds often ind it hard to let go of Christian symbolism, even when they've found the more conventional forms of it less than satisfying. By holding on to the religious motifs while performing New Age practices, they're creating new forms of religious magic.

Wiccans and folk magicians welcome the renewed interest in spirituality and magic in whatever forms it manifests. They also hope that with the spread of New Age consciousness, more people will come to understand, or at least tolerate, alternate religious and spiritual systems.

But Wiccans are not out to convert others. They agree that persons should find peace within their own religions. Those who can't move on to other traditions, seeking the correct combination of elements that allows them to feel that they consist of more than bones and flesh and a mind.

For some, this search leads to the simple splendor of folk magic. For others, to the religion of Wicca.

In what kind of world will the heirs of the New Age live? What will folk magicians and Wiccans find in the coming years, in the new century ahead?

Hopefully, they'll exist in a spiritually integrated society which provides for practitioners of all religious and magical paths; a world in which no one religion seek to dominate and destroy all others in a vain attempt to prove its superiority.

True, we're human, with all the faults that this suggests. But perhaps at some time in the near future, we'll begin to realize that the forms of religious and spiritual practices are unimportant so long as they facilitate relationships between human beings and the Divine.

Perhaps the current wave will awaken the majority of persons to the spiritual reality of the physical world. Perhaps it will enhance the desire to preserve our planet by halting mindless, blind development and the misuse of life-threatening technology such as nuclear power.

If the New Age achieves nothing else, it will have done its work.

Chapter 19 - Toward the Light

This book's stated purpose is to explode the myths and superstitions regarding Wicca and magic, as well as to show just what Witchcraft is. It's not a religious tract intended to convert readers-it simply speaks the truth about folk magic and the Wiccan religion.

Though Wicca doesn't proselytize, and folk magicians don't look for new practitioners of the magical arts, many persons seek further information on these topics. Hence, I"ve included some guidelines in this chapter.

If, after reading this book, you wish to learn more about Wicca and magic, the best way to start is by reading. Read every book you can find on these subjects-both the good works and the bad. Read with a critical eye, evaluating each author individually. Be especially careful when reading books containing numerous Biblical quotations. These are certainly written by non-practitioners, and are filled with countless inaccuracies and downright lies.

Spiritual Healing Handbook

Spiritual Healing Handbook

A lot of people today are turning to alternative medicines to treat ailment, illnesses, and diseases. Besides this there are also alternative therapies that can also address medical problems successfully.

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