Deities Names

As mentioned in Lesson One, the names for the deities would vary depending upon locality. And not only locality. With the Goddess, especially, the question of names could become quite involved. For example, a young man with problems in his love life might worship the Goddess in her aspect of a beautiful young woman. Yet a woman in childbirth might feel more at ease relating to the Goddess as a more mature "middle-aged" female. Then again an elderly person would tend to think of the Goddess as herself being elderly. So there we have three separate and very distinct aspects of the same Goddess, each having been given a different name yet all being the same deity. As if that weren't enough, the deities would have names known to the general worshippers but also other, secret, names (often two or three) known only to the priest-

hood. This was a protective measure.

In Witchcraft today there are many traditions that continue this multiplicity of names. Traditions with degree systems, for example, frequently use different deity names in their higher degrees than in their lower. Gardnerian is one example of this.

So we have this idea of an Ultimate Deity, an incomprehensible power, and in trying to relate to it we have split it into two main entities, a male and a female. To these we have given names. It would seem that by so doing we are limiting what is, by definition, limitless. But so long as you know, and keep always in the back of your mind, that "It" IS limitless you will find that this is the easiest path to follow. After all, it is pretty difficult to pray to a "Thing", a Supreme Power, without being able to picture someone in your mind.

IN JUDAISM there is this problem to an extent (though Judaism is a theocentric faith); the Supreme Power there has a name which may not be uttered and may not be written. Yahweh is the vocalized form often used, but it is derived from the four letters YHWH (the "divine Tetra-grammaton"), signifying "that name too sacred to be pronounced".

IN CHRISTIANITY there was developed the use of a human male, Jesus, to play the part of the "Son of God", the Christ, thus giving a recognizable form to deity; a form to which the followers could relate. With the addition of Mary, the mother figure, the duality was complete. Bo it was much more comfortable to pray to Jesus, as the extension of God/Supreme Being, yet all the time knowing that there was the indefinable, the incomprehensible, beyond him. Jesus and Mary were the intermediaries.

So IN WITCHCRAFT; those we know as the God and the Goddess are our intermediaries. Different traditions use different names, as already mentioned. These are the names used for the "understandable forms" of the Supreme Power; the Ultimate Deity. They are the deities honored and worshipped in the Witchcraft rites.

THE GOD AND GODDESS OF WITCHCRAFT

"PAN—A Greek nature and fertility deity, originally native to Arcadia. As such he is god of goatherds and flocks and is usually represented as a very sensual creature; a shaggy human to the loins with pointed ears, goat's horns and legs. He wanders among the mountains and valleys, pursuing nymphs or leading them in their dances. He is quite musical and is the inventor of the Syrinx, or 'Pipes of Pan'. He is considered to be a son of Hermes." Putnam's Concise Mythological Dictionary Joseph Kaster, Putnam, NY 1963

"PAN—A Greek nature and fertility deity, originally native to Arcadia. As such he is god of goatherds and flocks and is usually represented as a very sensual creature; a shaggy human to the loins with pointed ears, goat's horns and legs. He wanders among the mountains and valleys, pursuing nymphs or leading them in their dances. He is quite musical and is the inventor of the Syrinx, or 'Pipes of Pan'. He is considered to be a son of Hermes." Putnam's Concise Mythological Dictionary Joseph Kaster, Putnam, NY 1963

A general complaint about Christianity by Witches is that there is the worship of the male deity to the exclusion of the female. In fact this is one of the main reasons for people (women especially) leaving Christianity and returning to the Old Religion. And yet it's a strange paradox that many—if not the majority—of Witchcraft traditions are guilty of this same crime of Christianity, if in reverse ... they laud the Goddess to the near, or even total, exclusion of the God!

Witchcraft is a religion of nature, as any Witch will tell you. Everywhere in nature there is male and female, and both are necessary (I have yet to meet anyone who does not have both a mother and a father). It follows, then, that both the God and the Goddess are important and should be equally revered. There should be balance. But balance is as woefully missing in most traditions of the Craft as it is in Christianity.

We are all—every single one of us—made up of both masculine and feminine attributes. The toughest, most macho man has feminine aspects just as the most traditionally-feminine woman has male aspects. So it is with the deities. The God has feminine aspects as well as masculine, and the Goddess has masculine as well as feminine. I will examine this in more detail in a later lesson.

What names you use for your deities is a matter of personal preference. In Saxon Witchcraft the name Woden is given to the God; in Gardnerian the Latin term Cernunnos is used; in Scottish, Devla. Each tradition has its own name. But names are only labels; they are only a means of identifying. You should identify, then, using a name with which you can feel completely comfortable. For, after all, religion is a most personal thing, at the core, and—to be of real purpose—should therefore be related to on the most personal level possible. Even if you join an established tradition this is still valid—find a tradition that seems right for you (as I spoke about in Lesson One) but... don't be afraid to modify where necessary to make it totally right for you. If the name used to identify the God, in the tradition you have chosen, happens to be Cernunnos (for example) and you have difficulty relating to that name, then choose another for your own use. In other words, respect the name Cernunnos in group worship and all matters pertaining to the coven but, in your own mind—and in personal rites—don't hesitate to substitute Pan or Mananna or Lief or whatever. A name, as I have said, is a label. The God himself knows you are "talking" to him; he's not going to be confused! (This all applies equally to the Goddess of course).

It may well be for the above reason that the name Cernunnos is found in so many branches of the Craft. As I've mentioned, it is simply the Latin word for "the Homed One". To add your own personal identification, then, in no way conflicts.

Traditionally the "dark half' of the year (see Figure 2.1) is associated with the God. But this does not (or should not) mean that he is "dead", or incommunicado, in the "light half" of the year (and vice versa with the Goddess). During the light half he is fully active in his feminine aspect; just as the Goddess is active in the dark half in her masculine aspect. So, both deities are active throughout the year, even though deference may be given to one over the other at certain times.

There is a common theme of death and resurrection found in myths throughout the world. The symbolism is frequently furthered in a descent to the underworld with a later return. We find it with Ishtar's descent and search for Tannaz; with Sifs loss of her golden tresses; with Idunn's loss of her golden apples; with Jesus' death and resurrection; with Siva's death and resurrection, and many more. Basically all represent the coming of fall and winter followed by the return of spring and summer; the lead figure represnting the spirit of vegetation. From Witchcraft here are "The Myth Of the Goddess" as found in (a) Gardnerian Wicca and (b) Saxon Wicca.

"Now G* had never loved, but she would solve all the Mysteries, even the Mystery of Death; and so she journeyed to the Nether Lands. The Guardians of the Portals challenged her, 'Strip off thy

There can be surprises in discovering names used for the deities in different traditions. One very-strongly Welsh tradition uses the name "Diana" for the Goddess and "Pan" for the Cod... Diana, of course, was a ROMAN Goddess and Pan was a GREEK God! Their connection with the Welsh must be one of the mysteries!

Figure 2.1

•Goddess: Arada/Arawhon garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught may ye bring with ye into this our land.'

So she laid down her garments and her jewels and was bound, as are all who enter the Realms of Death the Mighty One. Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt and kissed her feet, saying, "Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me, let me place my cold hand on thy heart.' She replied, 'I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die?' 'Lady/ replied Death, 'it is Age and Fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time I give them rest and peace, and strength so that they may return. But thou, thou art lovely. Return not; abide with me.'

But she answered, 1 love thee not'.

Then said Death, 'An' thou receive not my hand on thy heart, thou must receive Death's scourge'.

It is Fate; better so', she said and she knelt; and Death scourged her and she cried, 'I feel the pangs of love'.

And Death said, 'Blessed be' and gave her the Fivefold Kiss, saying, 'Thus only may ye attain to joy and knowledge'.

And he taught her all the mysteries. And they loved and were one, and he taught her all the Magicks.

For there are three great events in the life of Man: Love, Death and Resurrection in a new body; and Magick controls them all.

For to fulfill love you must return again at the same time and place as the loved one, and you must remember and love them again. But to be reborn you must die, and be ready for a new body; and to die you must be born; and without love you may not be born. And these be all the Magicks."

The Meaning of Witchcraft

Gerald B. Gardner, Aquarian Press, London 1959

"All day had Freya, most lovely of the goddesses, played and romped in the fields. Then did she lay down to rest. And while she slept deft Loki, the Prankster, the Mischief-Maker of the Gods, did espy the glimmering oiBrosingamene, formed of Galdra, her constant companion. Silent as night did Loki move to the Goddess' side and, with fingers formed over the ages in lightness, did remove the silver circlet from about her snow-white neck.

Straightway did Freya arouse, on sensing its loss. Though he moved with the speed of the winds yet Loki she glimpsed as he passed swiftly from sight into the Barrow that leads to Dreun.

Then was Freya in despair. Darkness descended all about her to hide her tears. Great was her anguish. All light, all life, all creatures joined in her doom. To all corners were sent the Searchers, in quest of Loki; yet

On the subject of deity names, let me explain the ones chosen ^ for the Seax-Wica. From time to time I hear comments from people who haven't troubled to check beyond the ends of their noses, to the effect that Woden and Freya were not the original "pair" of Saxon deities. Of course they were not and nobody—least of all myself—has claimed they were. Here is how the founding of the tradition was first explained, back in 1973:— "It seems that most people who are Wicca-oriented are also tradition-oriented (perhaps this explains the battle for the 'Oldest Tradition' title?). For this reason I have given my tradition an historical background on which to lean. Namely, a Saxon background. By this I most emphatically do not mean that there is any claim to its liturgy being of direct descent from Saxon origins!... But, for example, names were needed for the deities... the main male and female deities of the Saxons were Woden and Frig. Unfortunately frighas certain connotations today which would be misplaced! 1 therefore adopted the Norse variant, Freya. So WODEN and FREYA are the 'labels' used for the God and Goddess worshipped by the Seax-Wica." (Earth Religion News, Yule 1973)

The Seax-Wica does not claim to be a reconstruction of the original Saxon Craft—such a task would be impossible. It is merely a workable tradition built on a Saxon framework, and the deity names were chosen specifically and for the reasons given. Any comment regarding their being "incorrect" is, then totally erroneous.

knew they, they would find him not. For who is there may descend into Dreun and return again from thence? Excepting the Gods themselves and, alack, mischievous Loki.

So it was that, still weak from grief, Freya herself elected to descend in search otBrosinga-mene. At the portals of the Barrow was she challenged yet recognized and passed. The multitude of souls within cried joyfully to see her yet could she not tarry as she sought her stolen light. The infamous Loki left no trail to follow, yet was he everywhere past seen. Those to whom she spake held to Freya (that) Loki carried no jewel as he went by. Where, then, was it hid? In despair she searched an age. Hearhden, the mighty smith of the Gods, did arise from his rest to sense the bewail-ment of the souls to Freya's sorrow. Striding from his smithy, to find the cause of the sorrow, did he espy the Silver Circlet where Loki Mischief-Maker had laid it: upon the rock before his door. Then was all clear. As Hearhden took hold ofBrosingamene, (then did) Loki appear before him, his face wild with rage. Yet would Loki not attack Hearhden, this Mighty Smith whose strength was known even beyond Dreun.

By wiles and tricks did he strive to get his hands upon the silver circlet. He shape-shifted; he darted here and there; he was visible then invisible. Yet could he not sway the smith.

Tiring of the fight, Hearhden raised his mighty club. Then sped Loki away. Great was the joy of Freya when Hearhden placed Brosingamene once more about her snow-white neck.

Great were the cries of joy from Dreun and above.

Great were the thanks that Freya, and all Men, gave to the Gods for the return of Brosingamene."

The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft RaymondBuckland, Samuel Weiser, NY 1974

Lesson Two: Beliefs /'17 REINCARNATION

Reincarnation is an ancient belief. It is part of many religions (Hinduism and Buddhism, for example) and was even one of the original Christian tenets, until condemned by the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. It is believed that the human spirit, or soul, is a fragment of the divine and eventually it will return to its divine source. But, for its own evolution, it is necessary that the soul experience all things in life.

It seems the most sensible, most logical, explanation of much that is found in life. Why should one person be born into a rich family and another into poverty? Why should one be born crippled, another fit and strong?... if not because we must all eventually experience all things. Reincarnation seems the most logical explanation of child prodigies. A musical genius, composing concertos at the age of five (as did Mozart), is obviously carrying-over knowledge from one lifetime into the next. This does not usually happen, but it can. In the same way, homosexuality might well be explained through reincarnation: a person male in one lifetime and then female in the next (or vice versa) might have carried over feelings and preferences from one life to the next.

For someone who does not believe in reincarnation, it is difficult to understand the death of a child. What was the point of the child living at all, if only for a few short years? For the reincarnationist it is obvious that the child had learned all that had been set to be learned in that particular lifetime and so was moving on. A very good simile for this is the grades of a school. You enter school in a low grade and learn the basics. When you have mastered these you graduate, take a short vacation, then come back into a higher grade to learn and experience more things. So it is in life. In each life you have a certain amount to learn and to experience. When you have done that, you graduate (i.e. you die). To come back into a higher grade you are reborn in a new body. Occasionally remembrance of previous lives, or parts of them, is experienced but more generally you do not remember (it is possible, of course, through such procedures as hypno-regression, to go back to previous lives and bring them once more to the surface). Perhaps one of the most common of occult experiences is that of deja-vu—the feeling that something has happened before—so often attributed to reincarnation (though by no means is reincarnation the only possible explanation of all cases of deja-vu); the feeling being a brief flash of memory of something that happened in a previous life.

In what form do we return to the earth? Some believe (the Hindus, for example) that it is not necessarily in human form each time. Certain Hindu sects teach that the soul may be reborn as a plant or an animal. However, such beliefs are not generally held in Western civilization. Some say there is a progression from the lowest life-forms to the highest— putting humans at the top. But then who is to say the order? Is a dog higher than a cat, or a cat higher than a dog? Is a centipede higher or lower than an earwig? Does this mean, when every soul has finally passed up the scale and graduated, that in the afterlife there will be no plant, animal or insect life? It seems unlikely. In Witchcraft the belief is that all things have souls. In Saxon Witchcraft, for example, it is believed that a dog will go through many incarnations, but always as a dog; a cat always as a cat; a human always as a human. There is reason for all things to be here ... what we term the "balance of Nature". It seems we certainly have a choice, within our species, of being either male or female, in order to experience and appreciate the different aspects.

One argument often put forward by non-rein-carnationists is "If what you say is true, how do you explain the fact that the world population is continuously growing?" Of course it is! So is the population of souls/spirits. There are not simply x number of souls who all started their development together. New souls are being introduced all the times. So we have so-called "new souls"—those on their first incarnations—and "old souls"—those who have been through a large number of lives. It is possible that eventually, when the gods decide enough souls have been introduced, there will be a stabilizing of the population followed later by a decline, as old souls in their final incarnations make their graduations.

There is yet another thought that might be considered here ... where do these souls originally come from and where do they go after that final graduation? One possibility, of course, is that we not only experience lives here on Earth, but also on other planets and in other reality systems. Who knows? ... perhaps we go through the cycle here having already been through it a dozen times or more on other worlds. There is obviously much food for thought, very little (if any) proof of preferences and great scope for new tenets.

Past Life Regression And Reincarnation

Past Life Regression And Reincarnation

Do You Believe That This Life Are The Effect Of Your Past Life? Understand Reincarnation And How This Life Can Affect Your Condition In Your Next Life.

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