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With that image fresh in your mind, tell me who the woman is. You know, the one who has God's arm is casually wrapped around like a lover. As a child, it never occurred to me that people do not think about it. It was my natural conclusion that it was God's wife. Then someone told me that God was a woman and I became terribly confused. If God is a woman, who is that big almost-naked guy with his arm around her? In answering that question, I found a beautiful religion called Wicca. But something there was also missing.

Within the Wiccan religion, I found many books that spoke about Goddess, but very few who listed her husband. Everywhere I looked, I could find information about Brigit but very little information about her husband Bres. Also within the Wiccan religion, I found many books that spoke about God, but very few that listed his wife. I could find reference to Wicca borrowing the Great Spirit from Native American traditions, but not with his wife Eschetewuarha.

This book is how I address that confusion.

You will note that the title of this book begins with the word A. This is because I in no way consider this The Bible. It belongs to me; I wrote it and gave it to someone to share it with you. They didn't think it would be a very popular book if we called it A.J. Drew's Wiccan Bible, so they shortened my name a bit and just called it A Wiccan Bible. Ok, actually that last part was just a bad joke, but I hope it made you smile.

You will also note that the title does not end with a period or with the word complete. This is because it's not finished yet. In fact, in trying to fit all that I would like to say under this title, I managed to write two different books. The first, this book, is dedicated to the discussion of the Wiccan religion. The second is dedicated to the discussion of Wiccan magick. This book is first because Wiccan magick is built on the religion, not the other way around. But even when these books are side by side, I will not be finished answering that question. You see, that answer is one's lifetime, and I am not ready for the grave quite yet. There are entirely too many things left to do.

In between the word A and the word Bible, there is a word that confuses a great many people. Exactly what it means is a bit confusing as it tends to mean something different to each person. Recently, a man by the name of Edred Thorsson published his research into the etymology of this word in a book called Witchdom of the True. There, he traces the word wicca past the Old English and into what may well be its true origin. This must have taken a great amount of research and work on his part, so instead of being one of the first to cite his book, I will be one of the first Wiccans to say that you should buy his book. That way his work is rewarded. I respect Edred a great deal. His research into the Old Norse traditions seems rivaled only by the soul of Freya Aswynn. However, I do not think the etymology of a word is a good way of addressing the meaning a word currently has. Yes, we are nothing without our past. But we are little more than a memory if we do not also have our present and our future. Please do read Witchdom of the True by Edred and also read Leaves of Yggdrasil.

If you have already read these books, you are probably wondering why a Wiccan author would recommend them. After all, they are both written by authors who are generally considered Asatru rather than Wicca. Well, this Wiccan sees something very interesting in Norse lore. I see not only the Aesir (mind) but also the Vanir (soul), and

I see spirit in the unification of mind and soul. Now, I am not saying that Asatru folk should all embrace Wicca, and I am not saying that Wicca folk should all embrace Asatru. The word one uses to denote his or her spirituality is unimportant because it is what we have in common that is more important than what we do not. No matter what one calls this recent spiritual awakening, it cannot be experienced without both mind and soul because spirit is the very union of mind and soul.

I do not know what the future will hold, but I do know where the Wiccan religion is currently. In fact, while not uniquely qualified to report on the state of Wicca, I am certainly one of the few. You see, I live immersed in its diversity. Unlike many of the very founders of the modern Wiccan religion, I see firsthand what folk are doing and saying. Unlike the founders of specific organizations or traditions of Wicca, I have the blessing of witnessing a wide sampling of the Wiccan community. Yes, sometimes it feels more like a curse, but the good outweighs the bad. Some folk have taken great objection to my observations, and sometimes those objections have been voiced in very hurtful ways. I try not to get angry, knowing that their harsh words are brought on by the sense of love for Wicca that I share. So who am I? What gives me this relatively unique vantage point?

I am nobody. Sure, I have a few books in print and a few to come, but you wouldn't know it by looking at me. What gives me this vantage point has nothing to do with writing books. No, it has more to do with selling books. Although I own the place, my chief occupation is bookstore clerk, that being a rather unique position because the store in question is a Pagan book store specializing in the Wiccan religion, its books, and its supplies. I am also the host of www.PaganNation.com, an online community whose growth has been beyond my wildest expectations. Combining these occupations is where we see my unique position. Not only can I observe the Wiccan community, but because I am an author, I can report on it. I am not removed from my audience in any way, and I do listen. You see, the main reason I have these occupations is because I want to answer that same question I mentioned a few paragraphs back. Loosely, that question is: What is god? In a grander sense of the question: What does it all mean? This book is what I have found thus far in my quest to answer that question. It is how I answer five questions about myself and about humanity:

n What a piece of work am I? n How noble am I in reason? n How infinite am I in faculty?

n In form and moving how expressive and admirable am I? n In action, am I like an angel?

It is in the questioning of these things that we find our place in the world, the natural order to our existence. It is the expression of doubt. A comment on how I question my own existence: While such questions might seem a bit pompous, anyone who has honestly asked them of oneself knows the answers are rather humbling.

Understanding This Book

Understanding this book requires that we suspend our instinct to interpret the written word literally. I have drawn on many world sources to structure my belief system. Although the stories on which I have built are themselves sacred, they should not be considered fundamentally true. This is especially true of time periods. Just because the oldest known story of the Great Flood can be found in Sumerian writings of about four thousand years ago does not mean the Great Flood took place four thousand years ago. Just because the story was told by the Sumerians with characters in the Sumerian pantheon does not mean that the story took place within the Sumerian culture. Indeed, that same story has been told by several cultures at several different points in history. So in reading of such matters, ignore entirely any reference to the time in which the culture telling the story existed because the time in which the story is told in that particular culture is not necessarily the time in which the event took place.

You see, this book is not the story of any one people or any one tradition of Wicca. Instead, it is the story of humanity and how the strivings of humanity have resulted in the evolution of this religion. It is a journey from the very beginning of humanity to what may seem like its end, all shown in the lifetime of a single Wiccan from birth until death. In this story, I hope the whole of what I intend to bring to your attention is seen because I believe the story given here in many parts is much greater than the sum total of its parts. Although Wicca was born in this past century, its birth took place only after its evolution and only when it was divinely needed. I hope here you will see that although there is widespread belief that Gardner or others created Wicca, belief in creation and evolution can coexist. For with this knowledge, although we may now be facing the end of one world, with Wicca we may welcome the birth of another.

The Recipes

In this book are included several recipes for natural incense and oils. To save space and connect the recipe to the rite or instance in which it is used, those recipes have been worked into the context of the book without an explanation of how to use them. In using those recipes, one should keep in mind that these are what have worked for me. You may need to modify these recipes to suite your needs.

Oil Recipes—On the market today there are several different types of oil, which range greatly in price. Unless otherwise noted, when I refer to oils herein, I am referring to pure, undiluted, natural essential oils of the plant listed. Wow, that was a mouthful. However, it had to be stressed. The market place is filled with synthetics and with blends of essentials in less expensive base oil. Generally speaking, true essential oils should not be placed on the skin. Although there are a few that do not seem to promote a reaction, such as patchouli, there are also some that will raise welts, such as cinnamon. However, oils should be purchased in their purest and most concentrated form because the recipe given includes the dilution.

That dilution and base oil can make or break the oil. In the recipes of this book, I have given the concentrations that have worked best for me. Your skin might be more sensitive than mine, so you may have to change the recipe to accommodate. The key to adjusting the concentration is to maintain the number of drops of oil that are in the recipe such that the ratio of the different essential oils remain consistent to one another. Either raise the amount of base oil used to further dilute the mixture, or lower the amount of base oil used to increase the concentration of the mixture.

When a specific base oil is not listed, it is best to pick one from the following list that will further the intent with which the oil will be used. Jojoba oil is the preference for any oil that is going to be stored for any length of time as it does not go rancid. Additionally, one can guard against rancidity by adding a few drops of wheat germ oil to each half-ounce of base oil. Potential base oils include almond, apricot kernel, avocado, coconut, grape seed, hazelnut, jojoba, olive, palm, sesame, and sunflower.

Incense Recipes—Generally speaking, natural incense is preferred to stick or cone for use in Wiccan ritual. Natural incense is usually ground in a mortar with a pestle, but if large amounts are to be made I will freely admit I am sometimes lazy and use my electric mortar—the coffee bean grinder. If you go that route, don't even think about putting whole roots in the thing unless you are prepared to purchase another one. Also, never use the coffee grinder for coffee or anything that you will eat or drink after it has been used for making incense. Some herbs that are perfectly safe in the censor are not all that safe in your digestive system. Likewise, if you are going to explore herbal teas or will be using your mortar and pestle for preparing food or drink, always have two sets, one for things you won't be eating and drinking and one for edible things.

Loose incense is burned over charcoal. But don't worry, you won't need a barbecue grill in your temple room. Instead, it is burned in a censor (burner) over a charcoal disk. These disks are sold in most New Age and Pagan shops in rolls of five and 10 at an affordable price. When you unwrap a roll of disks, you will notice there is a cup in one side of the disk; that is where the natural incense is sprinkled. To light the disk, hold it such that the cup is facing down, and light the cup side. It will spark a bit; this is normal. Turn the disk right side up, and place it in the censor on top of either gravel or sand. The gravel or sand is important, as the temperature the charcoal disk will reach is high enough to glow brass, shatter glass, and pop glazed ceramic burners. Once the edges turn white, the disk is ready to be sprinkled with natural incense.

How This Book Is Arranged

Because Wicca is a Nature-based religion, it recognizes that most things have a natural beginning, middle, and end. When applied to living things, these three states are seen as youth, adult, and senior. The three stages of life are more than literal ages that denote those years. Those phases are a way of addressing all things as having a beginning, middle, and end. In training covens, these stages of life are represented as degrees of initiation, which represent the initiate's life within the coven. First degree is the beginning, second degree is the middle, and third degree is the end. Although third degrees are not tossed out, they are generally welcome to leave their coven and start their own. In so doing, they bring the lore of the first coven, begin their own coven, and start the initiation process again. To maintain that natural order, I have arranged the whole of this book in three sections.

Section One: The Beauty of the World

Dedicated to our Lady and Lord as Maiden and Master

Here we discuss matters of birth, Wiccaning, and Self-Dedication. You will find not only ritual ideas, but why those ritual ideas exist. Here, too, are the basic ideas behind the Wiccan religion as applied to a worldview. The book of lore associated with this section is the Book of Plants.

Section Two: The Paragon of Animals

Dedicated to our Lady and Lord as Mother and Father

Here we discuss coven and household Initiation and mating customs. Building on the ritual ideas presented in Chapter 1, we see the development of the Wiccan soul. The book of lore associated with this section is the Book of Animals.

Section Three: In Apprehension How Like a God

Dedicated to our Lady and Lord as Crone and Sage

Here we see a further exploration of the Wiccan soul, building on that soul with mind, which yields Spirit. The book of lore associated with this section is Book of Humanity.

The Degree System

One might see a loose degree system begin to emerge in these three sections. If one were to see such a thing, one would be about half right. Although I am not a fan of the degree system, it is a convenient way of marking knowledge and the evolution of the soul. However, as stated earlier, I look on this book as the first half of a larger work. As you read this book, you will begin to understand why I have decided to separate these books and present them as I have.

Know first that the book Liber ab Planta (first degree study material) and Liber ab Familia (second degree study material) have been greatly condensed due to editorial space considerations. I hope at some time in the future to publish the missing material. So, please do not believe that in reading Section One, you are a first degree Wiccan. Not only is section one only half of the story that a first degree might possess, the truth is that each and every one of us is whole. If your soul is Wiccan, than you are already a first degree, a second degree, and a third degree. All I am doing here is reminding you of that fact. You see, I do not believe being Wiccan is a matter of birth or hereditary lineage, nor do I believe being Wiccan is a matter of being made or of coven initiation. Instead, I believe that when the world is in need, the souls who satisfy that need are reborn, and we have been. However, we must recognize that need and educate our minds to address it.

Section One

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