Wiccan Friend

Just your friendly neighborhood Witch. Thoughts on Wicca, Witchcraft, Tarot, and Paganism today.

Tag Archives: Witchcraft

Dedication to the Craft of the Wise

Greetings to all.  While I am pounding out the final post in the Knowledge, Wisdom, and Intelligence series I thought I would give a short update of what is going on and talk briefly about dedicating to the path.

You will notice new additions to the Book of Shadows.  I added a Magickal Arts section and have updated the Circle of the Year for Litha.  Overtime I will continue adding to both of those areas to keep them up to date and fresh.

I must say that I am really excited.  Last Saturday my wife and I dedicated into the Rose Hollow Coven.  After going through some classes and learning about the people in the coven we decided that it would be a great place for us to learn and call home.  That being said I feel now that I am going to have to be careful of what I share with this blog.  I want to protect my coven mates their privacy, as well as the secrets of our tradition.  I will however still be sharing ideas that I find helpful and think you might get something out of.  That being said, the dedication was beautiful and meaningful.  It brought me back to my first dedication.  You see I took this most recent dedication as a dedication to be in and a part of Rose Hollow.  I wanted to reaffirm with the God and Goddess that this is my chosen path and that I want to walk that path specifically with these people.

My first dedication was a self-dedication.  I had been studying Wicca and Witchcraft for several months.  Secretly of course because I was living in my parents house at the time.  I was 18 but going to college and working nearby and staying home on the farm made all of that easier and more affordable.  I think it must of been “Uncle Bucky’s” Big blue book that pushed me over the edge.  I realized that if I was going to live a Pagan life that I needed to make it official.  I needed to shed off my old skin, put it behind me, and let the Gods know that I was serious and wanting to affirm myself as Pagan.  I don’t remember exactly when it was, maybe late summer or fall.  I remember I took my athame and headed outside.  I cast a quick circle and remember becoming overwhelmed with feelings.  It had felt so right and everything over the last several months of studying and reading had built up to this moment.  Quietly but with purpose and intensity I addressed my Gods.  “Watch over me Lord and Lady.  I start a new path under your care with joy and humility.  Its me Keagen.”  It was the first time that I had really felt my Craft name and it felt important to introduce myself to the God and Goddess even though I knew that they recognized me.  I cried.  In doing so I was shaking off those ideas and old beliefs that were binding me and holding me back.  I felt lifted and clean.  I hadn’t perform any magickal work before this because I felt that if I were going to follow a religious magickal path that I needed to pay homage to the Lord and Lady before doing so.  And so it was.

I feel this introduction into The Craft is just as valid as any.  I connected with the God and Goddess that night and know one can tell me otherwise.  However when it comes to Wicca I do feel that you should be taught this from a Priest or Priestess of the religion.  That would require induction into a coven or other similar group.  Wicca is a specific religion, with its own mysteries and ways.  It would be foolish to think that you could reveal those to yourself without knowing their source, but that is only my opinion.  What do you think about self-dedication?  What was your first like, or what would you like it to be like?  Do you believe that it is possible to be Wiccan without being brought into the path by another Wiccan?  Answer in the comments below.

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Knowledge, Wisdom, and Intelligence Part 2

So for a short recap on this series.  I started this to take a closer look at the special qualities of these subjects.  I wanted to celebrate their differences and apply what I learn to a magickal life.  You can check out the first post on Knowledge here.  Now, we move on to Wisdom.

Wisdom

This is really one of my favorite subjects.  I feel it is most often mistaken for our other subjects knowledge and intelligence, but when you look closely at it you get a true sense of how important a trait it is.

Defined Wisdom is knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.

I like this definition because of how eloquently it is summed up.  Wisdom is knowledge of what is true or right.  So we can gather that if we do not seek the truth behind what we know then we are not seeking wisdom.  This is interesting to me because it is implying that wisdom is bigger than just what the individual believes is true.  Who decides what is true?  In my mind there are individual truths that I may believe in but for something to be universally true it must be seen as true by the collective.  Two things dictate truth to me.  Our Gods and society decides what is true and right and what is not.

There are certain things we know that are wrong and right, true and untrue.  Many of these truths we come equipped with at birth.  Maybe it is because it is the ways things have been done for so long that they are a very part of humanity now enshrined in our DNA or through reincarnation and truths we have learned over many life times.  Even if that is true I think it is possible that the Lord and Lady have had their hand in it over the years slyly nudging humanity towards acting true and right.  As far as the truths which we do not retain through birth they are taught through the communities of which we all find ourselves a part of.  Those townships, organizations, groups, clubs, neo-tribes, associations, colonies and societies teach us the collective truths.

Now the definition further unfolds and adds coupled with just judgement as to action.  So not only do we have true knowledge but to be wise we must understand how to rightly use that knowledge in action.  To me it is a charge.  A charge that to be wise I must take that which I know and act justly and rightly.  It is a good affirmation that we should strive to use our knowledge towards a goal which is most beneficial.

So how do we learn wisdom?  I think Confucius said it well.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

We can reflect on others actions and gather what we can from our contact with deity.  We can imitate the Wise, which although it seems like a juvenile form of wisdom, it would make people look wise.  Finally there is experience.  I agree with the wise sage that it can be bitter but at the same time there is so much to be gained by gathering wisdom through experience.

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another. – Juvenal

So now that we have working understanding of Wisdom, how can we use it in our magickal lives?

The wise are able to discern their true interests from those of the ego mind. They are usually regarded as kind, content in themselves. They tend not to aspire to greater material wealth or fame. They have learnt what is important. – Peter Russell

We must strive to take the knowledge that we have and use it to better ourselves and those around us.  We must also work to be wiser and use knowledge within our code of ethics.  During spellwork take a moment to stop and think about how your spell will effect all the things that are connected to it.  Really explore how it fits into your own code of ethics.  Always challenge yourself to apply wisdom when trying to affect change.

I think it is important that we view wisdom as non polar.  Is wisdom only about making a decision based on your knowledge for the good of all, or is it more about recognizing the difference and knowing what is good and bad about your knowledge set.  If someone only concerns themselves with what is good and does not explore what is  bad about what they know, then do they truly understand their knowledge in whole?  When exploring knowledge take note of both the good and the bad.  Only then do I think we can make the best choices as to how to act on our knowledge base.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast. NAS, Proverbs 3:13-18

What the Tarot says about Wisdom:  A Single card pull from the Tarot

The Queen of Swords – She reminds me that the path to wisdom is often hard.  My experiences will require me to be tough in my will.  She also reminds me that in order to experience life and gain its wisdom I must act.  I cannot remain comfortable in my current state too long, but must push forward to understand more.  All things precious come at a price just as the most beautiful of roses can have equally as sharp thorns.

A Witch’s musings on Knowledge, Wisdom, and Intelligence

An Introduction

This is a post that has been on my mind for some time now.   Knowledge, Wisdom, and Intelligence: Are they interchangeable?  Equal to one another?  Additionally, what do they have to do with Magic and the Craft?  I want to take some time to write about each of them so I am going to make this a three part post.  Please keep in mind that these are musings, meaning that what I am going to write is mostly based of my own experience and from my own heart.  You may very well feel differently about these subjects then I, but I welcome our differences and would love to hear you thoughts in the comments section.  I am also going to share what affect these ideas have on magic and in Craft work.  Then I leave it up to the reader to share with me how these ideas affect their own magical work.

For me each of these stand out in their own way and each hold huge uniqueness over the others.

Knowledge

Walk with me on a path of exploration.  This place that we travel to is one of worship and learning.  It exists in all of us and at its very core holds the answers to all of our questions.  Take my hand and listen not only to the words that are spoken but also to your own heart.

I have found these three words in conversation quite often recently.  I start with knowledge because I believe that it deals with the base of our conversation.  Knowledge for the basis of our conversation is the micro.

As we start our journey we start the path at the opening of a great field of flowers.  With each step of your feet you are overcome.  You feel your mind filling with the information of your surroundings.  The names of the beautiful flowers flow through your consciousness , and close behind you feel their colors pass through you.  You can taste, and smell them all at once.  With each breath you gain even more then you thought was possible from the breath before it.  You stand in this field and know what it is that surrounds you.  As you gain an inner peace you feel a calm breeze that calms your spirit and lifts your heart.

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines knowledge as “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.”  The word “know” is defined as “to perceive directly: have direct cognition of.”  When I myself tried to define what I consider knowledge the best I could come up with is ownership of true facts, abilities, or experiences.  I wanted to add abilities because I have the knowledge how to do certain things like play the guitar or swim, and I think that is different then facts and experience.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.   – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is important to separate information from knowledge.  Information is all around us it is not until we have some familiarity with it that we can consider it knowledge.  In my web searching to  research the subject I ran across this.  Check it out here http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5108/, or read below:

Knowledge adds understanding and retention to information. It is the next natural progression after information. To have “knowledge” requires information in conjunction with patterns between data, information, and other knowledge, couples it with understanding and cognition.

I really like that as a definition as it really encompasses the idea between understanding and retention.  To know we have to get the information and then retain it.

Information is not knowledge. – Albert Einstein

So how can apply this to our Craft.  I found myself in my youth of witchcraft a real information whore.  I couldn’t get enough of it. Every book, and person I met meant that I could grow in what I thought was knowledge and power.  I started buying books, and writing my favorite things down in a Book of Shadows.  It really meant nothing.  I was going through the motions of what I thought was the right way to go but it was shallow because my growth was not from knowledge of the subjects I was studying.  If you were to ask me what half of it meant I couldn’t really tell you.  I was really good at the “This is what Witches are not” conversation but not so good at what Witches are.  There was a certain depth that was missing and so was true magic also missing.  The first two goals of the witch are 1. Know yourself, and 2. Know your craft.  I knew I wanted to be a witch but although I had gathered the proper information, I did not know my craft because I didn’t feel it and had little familiarity.

Own what you want to know and make it yours.  Don’t just right down the definitions and correspondences, live them.  Meditate over the true meanings and how they move you.  Only when you do this will you truly gain understanding and broaden your knowledge of such things. It is a journey that may mean hardship, but your magic will reap the benefits.

What the Tarot says about Knowledge: A Single card pull from the Tarot

Eight of Swords.  Do not be confined to your current skill set.  You must strive to know the things you do not know.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. – Confucius

As we step from the field of flowers you ground yourself on the tiny gravel stones of the small walkway.  Your feet feel lighter as we continue down the path.  Just ahead is a hill.  “Just ahead is learning to apply the knowledge you have.”  You wonder about what is ahead but is yet unknown.

One less traveled…at least by me.

So it starts.  My mind is heightened and my will razor sharp.  If my intent were a shotgun it would be fully loaded, chambers full of deadly might.  I find myself perched staring down that gun with a target in sight.  Every moment wanting to pull the trigger but waiting because I know that perfect shot is coming.

Chris Geddie, an awesome human being, said to me once.

Pain from regret last forever, but Pain from effort is only temporary.

I wish I could shake his hand today to tell him that his words resonate inside of me and drive my path as a Man, Wiccan, Husband, Business Owner, and Friend.

As is the Season, a series of events were set forth a couple of weeks ago when I met with the kind leaders of a local Coven.  After what seems like weeks of waiting I am able to carry on with that initial planting to help this little seedling grow.  This weekend is going to have more pagany events in it for me then I have had in many years combined.  It is my sincere hope that I am able to be genuine with the people I meet this weekend and that my heart and mind open so wide as to redefine what it means to me to be a Pagan.  Maybe that is setting the standard a little high, but as a solitary wiccan it is what I have craved most in my religious goals.  That goal better defined is to meet other pagans to worship, learn from, and live.  I am attending an Imbolc celebration on Sat. by Rose Hollow.  Then on Sunday the High Priestess has invited my wife and I out to visit some of the local pagan shops and to a public ritual being held by another local coven.  I feel on fire with excitement.  I feel doubly blessed that I get to share this experience with my amazing wife.

There is always a catch to walking the road less traveled.  Sure it may be exciting but there is a lot of unknown.  The obstacles I face currently is a relatively easy one, but I need help.  Everyone attending Imbolc was asked to bring something to represent a goal for the upcoming planting season.  The example was given that if you were going to exercise more to bring running shoes.  I am totally stuck as to what to bring.  My first impression was something to do with my business.  I started it only last year and would like to see it grow but I really don’t want to seem pretentious or give the first impression that money is that important to me.  Right now there is a lot going on for me.  I have my music with new instruments to learn.  There is my new relationship with this coven that I hope will grow.  Also, I have a new tarot deck that I would love to really get to know more personally.  Additionally I have this blog which I really want to keep expanding with more music and adding into the Book of Shadows.

What about you?  Share with me if you would what you would bring to such an event or even what you are focusing on this Imbolc.

I think the examples might help me brain storm.  Comment below or email me wiccantarot@gmail.com

TLC What Not To Wear, a style guide for Witches

Well well, I was able to catch the re-showing of What Not to Wear tonight where they did a fashion make over on a Wiccan by the name of Leanne Marrama.  Overall I have to say that I am happy with the episode, but what stood out to me is not the Witch but Stacy and Clinton.  Thank you two for not only being open minded and having a witch on the show but also for mentioning the importance of not feeding into stereotypes.  I am pretty easy going and not easily offended.  I am not all that judgmental but I really went into this with a critical eye.  Of course there were plenty of one liners about witches and the like, and the opening was an angry mob on the witch hunt.  I laughed my ass off.  I laughed because it was funny and I have a sense of humor!  It also helped that it was done in a way that was meant to be over the top and get the stereotyping out of the way.

What followed next was S&C breaking down for our witch that she doesn’t have to dress poorly in order to be a witch.  This particular witch working as a psychic and living in Salem wore pointy hats, black everything, pentacles (upside down and point up), and push and smoosh corsets.  They then probed into the idea that it is very much a wall put up to resolve a hidden fear of being discriminated against; juxtaposed with her own want for people to know she is a witch.  It does make her special but as Clinton asked, why does that matter?  The answer is it doesn’t and that playing into stereotypes is just silly.

I am glad this episode aired.  I think it was good, and one of their better shows.  Mostly because of this amazing transformation of this Witch and the fact that at some point the show focused more on that instead of her religious choices.  That being said she stayed true to her faith and anytime a witch can be portrayed as a human being, mother, business owner, and nice; not just a freaky goth witch, does great things for the pagan community as a whole.  I’m pretty sure that last sentence is a run on.

As one of her witchy friend put it she transformed into, “Joan Crawford meets the whore of Babylon.”  He saw it as good, and so did I.  If you can catch a rerun I suggest tuning in.

Leanne’s Online Tarot

Leanne’s Store “Hex Marks the Spot”

Blessed Be

Witch on Season 7 Project Runway

So my wife and I were watching Models of The Runway, a show that comes on after Project Runway.  I know what you are thinking but my wife really digs both shows.  I had a totally WTF moment when one of the the models, Alexis Broker, said something very unexpected.  She said her religion was witchcraft, but she only does white magic not black magic.

Already I have a problem with the very short statement that was not focused on by the producers.  The camera basically cut away before there was any real reaction.  My problem is certainly not the air time but of the idea that Magic is polarized.  Although I can say that if someone was having a hard time understanding what I meant by witchcraft I might have a similar conversation.  I’m sure there was a lot cut out of the footage as it came a bit out of context and most likely added by the producers for shock value.

What do you think?  Is Magic white and black, good and evil, altruistic and selfish?

I will certainly be keeping an eye on her just to see what else she says about the Craft… Oh goodness I don’t see this ending well for the pagan community but I hope for the best.  I wish her luck on the show.

Birth of a Pagan

The story of where, who, and how I became a Pagan.

Where:

I grew up on a farm in a small Texas town of about 13k people.  We raised sheep, chickens, rabbits, and had many other pets like horses, dogs, cats, etc…  On our property there was a small grove of pecan trees, a cedar maze, and a small but delightful section of woods.  I feel fortunate that we were able to live in a place to do things I don’t think most people get to do.  We would seasonally work the land.  Early winter was pecan season, spring time meant taking the sheep to market and seed the fields.  Summer was full of firefly, squash, and wild berries.  Fall always produced the most amazing tomatoes.  The secret to a perfect fresh off the vine tomato is that it has to get below 75 degrees at night.  It is almost like we had our own eco-system and life cycle right on the farm.  It came at the cost of lots of long hours and spent weekends working outside and tending to various farm projects.  This wonderful and magical place gave me such a deep respect and connection to nature.  Later as I grew up I came to realize how important this place was to me.

Who:

My father was a tough man.  He was reserved and wrathful.  I still to this day do not truly know the man.  I only know what he is like.  The gifts I got from him and the lessons he taught me, knowingly or not, are invaluable.   He taught me life is tough and unfair.  For some people it is a constant struggle, and others just a series of lessons and ways to gain experience.  He showed me what hard work is and defined suffering.  He was the example of sacrifice and provided well for his family.  Don’t misunderstand he was a horrible Dad and had little to do directly with my journey into manhood, but I still was able to learn and grow.  And unknowingly that was his greatest gift to me.  The understanding that any situation I am in, as long as I am still alive I can change it.  That became the basis of my introduction into Witchcraft.

How:

I was raised Lutheran.  That is a denomination of the Christian faith.  Even from a young age I never felt like I belonged in the Church.  There was too much that wasn’t addressed and I knew that I didn’t agree with all of it.  The things I loved about the Lutheran faith kept me coming back.  The music, the weekly ritual, the symbolism.   I might have gone somewhere else but I was ignorant to what was out there.  Though I didn’t agree with all of it I wanted to know why, so I think that I made a very good choice.  I started working for the Church.  In my mid teens I starting helping with Sunday school and made an effort to be more involved.  It was my secret that I was evaluating and coming to terms with what I believed is my best religious path.  When I turned 18 I wasn’t sure if I was Christian, but was offered a paying job as the youth minister of my church.  I shouldn’t have agreed to it.  I should have been honest with the Pastor and told him that I was unsure about my Christian faith, but I saw the opportunity to really find out what I believe.  It was an opportunity to study the bible and lead a group of young people.  I set up my office, complete with DOS based computer and began what ended up a short journey.

I remember having just finished the Earthsea series of books by Ursula K Leguin about a year before.  They really got me fascinated in fantasy magic.  So I went to the internet.  Now this was 1998, so Internet was definitely alive and well.  In my house we only had

Click to Read It

dial up as broadband was just not available to us.  I remember just typing into a search engine Magic.  Eventually I ran across Witchcraft.  It had set my heart on fire.  I remember going out to the local bookstore and buying a book called Celtic Magic by DJ Conway.  I come from an Irish background so it seemed fitting.  I turned out to be more than just a spell book but more of a 101 to Wicca and the practice of Witchcraft.  It sounded like a Religion almost…

Over the course of my time as a youth minister I was able to solidify my beliefs.  I always kept them very private, and my lessons and teachings were very much in line with the church’s wishes but at the end of the first year I resigned, not only from youth ministry but from Christianity.  I had toiled around with the idea of being some kind of Christian Witch, but in my heart knew that I couldn’t be a half Christian, or a half Witch.  I spent the next year studying magic based paganism.  Eventually that turned from Witchcraft into Wicca.  By my Sophomore year in college I had started my own Book of Shadows and was spending a lot of time in libraries and bookstores trying to wrap my head around everything and soak in as much as possible.  In was the first time in my life where I felt that my brain and heart were both thirsty for knowledge and experience.

I have realized something very recently.  I was listening to a Podcast and one of the host which I truly admire said they really believe in the practice of group initiating into Wicca.  They mentioned that they felt it the only true way to enter this faith.  At first I was appalled because when I came to Wicca I did so in such a isolated and small Christian based community that I didn’t have the benefit of a group or coven.  I had to self initiate, which I hold that moment dear to my heart.  This really got me thinking and the truth came to me that I had always wanted to be a part of a coven and get back to group Ritual work.  It was some of my fondest memories of religion growing up.  It donned on me that there is no reason why I can’t do that now.  I may have grown up in a small oppressed community but I don’t live there now.  I am perfectly able to go out and find a place to belong now.

My wife and I are meeting with a High Priestess of a near by coven this Friday.  We really are seeking out two major things.  Friends who are pagan, and formal training.  We have both read and own many Wicca 101 and have been pagan for many years.  There is value to us however in seeing other people who hold similar believes sacred.  I update Friday to share our experience.

What about the readers?  How did you come to know the Craft, Wicca, Paganism, or the like?  Share with me.  I am dying to hear other peoples stories. What is your Where, Who, and How?

Until next time, Blessed Be.