Tag Archives: Witches

Photographing Sophie – Highs, lows and lessons!

My father’s body wasn’t even cold in the hospital body, but I ran up to the car, grabbed my camera, came back to the Intensive care unit and started taking a few `forensic’ photos of his torn ear, head injury – all through my tearful and blurry eyes!  That was one cold hour past midnight back in January 1990.  And here I am, on a Summer’s day in June 2018.  What’s that got to do with Sophie?   Well, the common thread.. is Photography! And  she’s very well, energised and happy that her photo’s going viral all over new sites around the world this morning, following our visit to Stonehenge yesterday – in case you were worried for her!

Sophie photo - woodland autumn 2017 by Mani Navasothy.jpg
Autumn Equinox ceremony- September 2017 – with Aaron as Hades and Sophie as Persephone . Photo (c) Mani Navasothy.        www.QuantumPhoenix.net

Sophie first attended one of my Woodland Witches & Pagan ceremony- back in Autumn 2017. She had glitter make up on her cheeks and a new agey jacket.   But that’s not what caught my attention (well that did catch my eyes).  I was asking for volunteers form the attendees to take on a ritual role of the Goddess, and Sophie  stepped forward.  Now normally only experienced or regular attendees volunteer..  so I was surprised, but she looked every bit like she could carry the beautiful and maiden Goddess Persephone who gets abducted by the Dark Lord Pluto/ Hades and taken to underworld..  So I accepted her offer..  And my friend Aaron took on the role of Hades!  The ritual went well, and their roles – symbolic – and directed and coached by me – went well too.

Since then, Sophie has attended many of our woodland ceremonies & socials, hung out with us, gone camping with us to Glastonbury, day trip to Hasting and sea side, and more recently (yesterday) an ver night drive out trip to Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and then Avebury.   She’s become a good magical friend of mine..  (and still remains awesomely beautiful like a Goddess!)

For me, Photography is not a hobby..!!

As the opening paragraph will have told you.. `taking photos’  is  a serious `interest’ of mine..  capturing real life moments and characters of people on photo – as I do that ..be it my father who had just died, or a sun set, or a Maypole Dance …or a mermaid like Sophie after a ceremony !)   Why ?  because life is precious, moments are magical and once past ..can never be lived again, and I have insecurities about loosing people that are dear to me.  So I snap away..  moment after moment.. trying to hold of to them all, lest I forget!   I have done since I was a little boy.  (Now am almost a 49 yr old middle-aged man!)

That said, one of my growing gripes / disappointments / irritations in modern times – is that of my creativity being hijacked or worse `stolen’ .

I see moments …character..  beauty ..  life..death..  and all inbetween..  and capture it..  Or compose it creatively and artistically.  If it’s people – friends – I direct them (be it a video production or a photoshoot).  Then I shoot the picture.  So it infuriates me, when someone standing next to me – swoops in – without so much as a polite request – and takes the shots that I line up and the people that I direct.  This happens a lot now.

On the one hand, I am happy for the person whose photos are being taken.  They are being `seen’ and their moment being recognised and captured.    But unlike me who honours, respects and uses it to empower people, others often seem to just steal a moment..  and that person’s soul!  They don’t seem to give acknowledgement or thanks to the subject at hand.  They don’t seem to celebrate them.  They don’t seem to offer them anything in return as a kind gesture.

This I realise happens a lot in the cut-throat world of Photography, Journalism, media, movie and celebrity culture we now live in.  If someone is in public eye, they are fair game?  Is that it? Is that right?

sophie photos - Baz Beltane
Sophie with Maypole  at Woodland witches Beltane Ceremony – May 2018.   Main photo shoot by Mani Navasothy (3rd photo by Baz).          http://www.QuantumPhoenix.net

Of course some of my other friends who swoop into copy or steal a shot that I line up or direct ..aren’t all like that.  They are part of my world, my friendship groups and my spiritual communities.  When they do too much that swoop & shot, I do hit back with a joke..  (or in the case of one friend, I actually did throw a light punch at his stomach ..with a smile on my face!  We hugged it out afterwards..  but I needed to make the point, and words were not sinking that message!)

sophie photos - david mani
Hastings.  Sophie adoring Sea.    Main Photo shoot by Mani Navasothy (1st photo by David). http://www.QuantumPhoenix.net

Ever since a Hindu priest threw a bucket of water in my direction at a Temple chariot festival 2 years ago, and that blessed water splashing all over my camera, my equipment has not been its full self.  The view screen doesn’t work, and video image stabilizer malfunctions.  Currently I don’t have enough finances to buy the next gen DSLR.  So I make do with a wounded camera…

Well, half the time, I don’t even carry it..  because that’s not my work!  My work is Priesthood, and as a Magical /Pagan events Organiser and Teacher.  I can’t organise an event, take care of all the  related matters, and support, nurture and empower the people ..attendees.. if am clutching on to a camera.  So moments come and go..and others capture it..   and sometimes I take out my mobile phone and catch a part of it.  (well, effectively, I conjure the Event and others capture it..  Put it the media way, I make the News and others report it!)

I say I don’t worry about this..  but writing this blog indicates that I do!  In so much as if my artistry and creativity and Art directions are being used by other people, they should do the decent and honourable thing- of either paying me a proper fee – especially if they used such a shot and sold it to papers…and that got used by many news sites all over the world!

 

sophie photos - Dail mail
Sophie at Stonehenge, Summer Solstice 2018.   This shows screen capture of pic that some other photographer swooped into steal and sold to media. (screen shot of DailMail news site).

Sophie was just walking away when I called her to stand by that stone, to put her head on that stone, to not look at camera, but look at the Sun, and to close her eyes.  That was my work…capturing a moment of my friend ..to give it back to my friend.  But the thief who stole that over my shoulder has sold his shot, and earned some money off my creativity ..and my friend.

Does that seem right to you?

There are two upshots to this whole experience.  1.  Sophie is feeling happy that her photos and her rune & glitter make up creativity – yes that’s her own magical creativity and her face ..is seen all over the world.  (How long before she gets a modelling contract?! Yeah!)    2.  I finally realise the value of my own Artistic talents…and it’s time I put my Photography services forward.

I’ll leave you with the exclusive shot of Sophie (test shoot) as an Antlered Goddess!!

-Mani Navasothy

Author Teacher Ritual Magician (and Photographer!)

Antlered Goddess poject sophie
Sophie – Antlered Goddess .  photo (c) Mani Navasothy  http://www.QuantumPhoenix.net

 

Links:

London Woodland Witches – Outdoor pagan Rituals (meetup)

Quantumligh Photography & Videos by Mani Navasothy (facebook page) – 

Daily mail feature – Summer Solstice 2018 

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Wicca Course: Working with Horned God & Moon Goddess for Magical Empowerment (London, outdoors)

An outdoor experiential course suitable for all beginners, and those following the Pagan or Wiccan path, with an interest in ceremonial / ritual working with Horned God forms and Moon Goddess forms. Such work is transformative and deeply empowering.

Horned Gods, Moon Goddess, wicca, empowerment, ritual magic, invocations
1 day course -Ceremonial work with Horned God & Moon Goddess for magical empowerment – 2nd June 2018 – by Mani Navasothy

 

New date:  Saturday 2nd June 2018

Course Contents

• God forms in Wicca: Cernunnos, Hern, Pan, Green Man, Dark Lord (Death), Sun God, Odin, Osiris …amongst others. The symbology of Horns, hooves, antlers are explained, as well as some discussion on the demonising (Pagan god seen as satan/ devil) of the god by non-pagans. We’ll deal with any hidden fears, old conditionings and prejudices, and work transpersonally to reconnect with the Horned God of Wicca and his empowering wildwood energies. Chants will be taught and used.

• Moon Goddess in Wicca: We’ll explore the Triple-Goddess imagery used in Wicca- maiden, mother and crone, as well as the various other significant examples used in wiccan wheel of the Year.

• Wheel & The God-Goddess cycle of the Year : explained with diagrams and notes- ie the maiden Persephone’s abduction at Autumn, motherhood, rejuvenated Bride arriving back to land at Imbolc; Marriage of God & Goddess at Beltane; the sacrifice of the God at Lammas; coming of Dark Lord at Samhain; Birth of Sun-child at Yule and more.

• Invocations, evocations and Charges of God & Goddess : What happens after circle is cast and energy raised in a coven? How are the god & Goddess brought into the Circle? Who carries those energie? What is the Drawing down of the Moon? And Sun? How does working with God & Goddess empower Witches? All will be explained.

• Examples of invocations (use on your own at home or group rituals).

• Use of masks/ crowns/ horns & props – for working with wildwood God & Goddess energies.

• Divine Masculine & Feminine pathworking with various symbolisms (transpersonal created to work with intuition & subconscious mind for empowerment) – to meet the God and Goddess.


Respect & Confidentiality:

During the course, Please refrain from chit-chats or constant interruptions. All personal matters shared in our sacred space must be kept confidential. please avoid using mobile phones during course delivery.

Fee:
Use these secure paypal links to pay for your confirmed spot:

wicca God & Goddess 12may18- Standard fee £18 per person.

wicca God & Goddess 12may18- Concession fee: £13 per person.

Alternatively you may RSVP now ..send a message to tutor to reserve a space…and pay fee by cash at the course at start.

 

**new** Date :   Saturday 2nd June 2018

venue:  Queen’s Woods   (Tube: High Gate – northern line)

Meeting point:  Woodman’s Pub patio/ garden. ( Archway Road).

meeting Time:  11.00 am meeting at Woodman ‘s pub garden. Please arrive early for coffee/ snack and some meet and greet with fellow students. Course begins at 11.30am in woods..

Lunch:
Please bring packed lunch. Or you can walk to `Queen’s Woods cafe’ (this is about 5 mins walk from our course-spot in woods). Lunch break is 45 mins. There will be 2 other short breaks. **Please arrive quickly after breaks so we can re-commence the course**

Rain/ weather:
Course will run with tarpaulin cover over our seating area. Come dressed appropriately for (insects abound in summer time).
—————————————

What to bring (optional)

• Please bring food/drinks/ lunch (Pls avoid eating during course delivery);
• Bring comfortable cushion/ blanket / throw to wrap up ..during meditative work (or if it’s just cold).
• Please wear outdoor appropriate clothing/ shoes.
• Strictly no drugs any time!
• Note books/ pen .

Recording / photography policy :
-Not allowed during course delivery & practise.

Course notes :
-Do take notes!! Some printed notes will be provided. e-mail additional notes sent afterwards.

Attending the course indicates you will abide by all guidelines set here in.

Bright Blessings
-Mani Navasothy
(Gardnerian Wiccan High Priest)

——  Links to meetup events for my  Courses / workshops ———-

 

 

London Woodland Witches, Wiccans, Eco-Magicians & Outdoor Pagans (meetup group)

Hi all, I like to take a moment to publicise the meetup group I run.  Although I’ ve been organising rituals for over a decade, the meetup groups was only set up about 11 months ago.. where I now put all the different types of ceremonies & rituals I organise..as well as a few that I attend (Druid rituals).    Here’s the full info..  and the link is at the bottom.   If you are in London and like to attend these, do follow the link and join..  Most events can be accessed without actually joining..but joining means you get the automated reminder few days prior, so you’ll not forget 🙂 BB.   -Mani

meetup--  London woodland witches & outdoor pagans
meetup– London woodland witches & outdoor pagans

London Woodland Witches Druids Eco-Magicians & Outdoor Pagans

Welcome!   Join us for Rituals & Pagan Social gatherings in London – and explore  Paganism, Druidry, Wicca & Witchcraft,  and  Eco-Magical workings!  Our events are a friendly mixture of formal ceremonies &  informal socials. These events take place in various public Woodlands, parks and outdoor settings in London. We also add  indoor socials/ pagan moots. All of these are great for Beginner wanting a friendly introduction to Wicca & witchcraft, Pagan ceremonies, ritual magic, and for meeting like-minded people.

Connect with fellow Seekers, Magicians and Pagans!

Enjoy feasting & socialising after the ritual. (Bringing food, drinks & wine to share – Wiccans love the social as much as the rituals!)

Why Woods & Outdoors? On Weather & Power of Nature: 

If you are looking for the real energies and powers of nature – for personal empowerment, then being regularly outdoors, experiencing nature.. (no matter how challenging it gets at times!) is the best way. For our events, you can attend in ordinary outdoor cloths.. (warm and water-proof)  and/or put on cloaks & robes or other tribal cloths once you arrive at  the ritual area..!.  At times, it will be sunny and warm. Or wet, wild and stormy. And attuning to those energies, energises you, liberates you, empowers you!  That is magic…and that is what it means to know real untamed awesome power of nature!.

———————————- Types of Events we organise ————–

Woodland Witchcraft & Wicca Rituals  –(monthly, on the evening of Full moons, or evening before. If it falls on a weekend, we start earlier in the evening. If on a week/work day, we keep these punctual and to the point)

 Seasonal pagan Festivities ––  (8 times a year, on a saturday/ sunday  close to the Sabbat – Imbolc, Spring, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, Autumn, Samhain, Yule.   we organise our own Eclectic/shamanic gatherings under `Hern’s Tribe’.  We also visit our friends’ `Druid rituals’)

• River Thames-based   rituals – (started in 2006, we had 8-10 rituals a year, but now focus on special Thames-Isis rituals or other special ones ..about 3-4 times a year.  Some take place in central London, others near Richmond – but always by the river Thames, and often at low tides, so we can work on the banks of the river Thames..)

• Eco-magical explorations / Gaia Guardians– We believe in using magic & ceremony for the benefit & healing of not just us humans, but also the Earth, Environment & animals.  Eco-Magic is a ceremony or even a small part of another ritual that focuses on this kind of work.  We meet for special days such as Earth Hour, Earth Day, Peace Day.   We now plan to meet more often just for these events – Walking & exploring woodlands;  Meditation & Nature-spirituality;  Eco-art;  Nature photography

• Social Events, Pagan Moots, Trips and camps —   We are also very sociable.  Some of us attend Pagan moots (pub socials) that our friends organise;  In the Summer, we organize  a Pagan Camp in the Epping Camp site; And at various other times, we gather up our pagan friends and go for trips in or out of London – to festivals (Edinburgh Beltane, Hasting Jack O Green, Eastbourne Lammas, Carshalton Jack,  October Plenty, Notting Hill Carnival..and so on).

—————— What we do magically in or rituals —————

Being a Witch, Druid or Shaman is not about  power and control – but gaining mastery of inner forces, clarity and empowerment – while working with external forces.   It is about sharing that knowledge and wisdom with others (being a Wise-Man or Wise-woman), changing the world for better with your own magical skills – bit by bit!

• Consecrations, Magic Circle & 4 Elements –  We consecrate people and the space using candles, incense, bells, rattle; We cast a protective magic circle/ sacred space using a wand, staff or athame (witch’s knife), and open gateways to elements (Air, fire, water, Earth) in 4 directions – east, south, west, north.

• Chants, drums, dance –  we use chanting, drumming and circle / spiral dance at ceremonies to raise energy and to shift our focus before or during rituals;

• Spells & ritual Magic – Paganism & Witchcraft involve doing magic spells..  using symbols drawn on objects, visualising, lighting candles, tying knots on cords/strings, planting seeds, cooking food mindfully,  and so on.

• Masks, Ritual & Enactment – Wearing masks, robes & cloaks allows ritualists to shift perception – their own and others in the ritual; We also write a ritual (scripted like a play), allocate parts/ roles to volunteers, prepare/ memorise some of that in advance, and enact those rituals; Themes can be seasonal (harvest, birth of Sun child, marriage of God & Goddess), or mythological (Hero’s quest, Fool’s Journey, blessing of boats, birthday of Isis and so on).

• Gods & Goddesses and Magic:   We work with Pan (Fertility, lust), Aphrodite (Love & sensuality), Cernunnos (Lord of the animals), Hern the Hunter-god, Diana the Virgin-Huntress who can not be owned my any man, Gaia the mother goddess.. and other deities. We always aim to do some personal magical work (in the group), spells, chants, a bit of spiral dance.. and also put energy towards eco-magic to help protect environment & endangered wildlife in the world.  

If all this sounds too much – don’t panic!  We give you plenty of explanation and notes at the start, in an informal sociable way..    Our websites are full of information articles, videos and blog links to give you plenty of background. And you can always contact the Organiser/ facilitator and chat about any of these.

—————————————————-

Note to  Students/ Researchers / Journalists:  You are welcome to `genuinely participate’ in the ritual (NO note taking!!) .  But please understand these are real magical ritual explorations.  Being observed, probed with questions, photographed or analysed can completely destroy their magical experiences and spiritual purpose of these events.

————————————————–

About the Organiser:

Mani Navasothy   – Sri Lankan Asian, brought up as a Hindu;  Wiccan High Priest (initiated in Gardnerian tradition in London);    20 yrs of Witchcraft, wicca & Coven experience;  11 years of running regular Open rituals indoors & outdoors in London; Previous Events Manager for `Pagan Federation London’ (7 yrs);  Has given numerous  Talks, workshops, media/radio interviews; Astrologer, published Esoteric author (6 books in KIndle),  Visionary Artist.   Mani integrates creativity, magic, eclectic shamanism, primal side of Witchcraft, as well as transpersonal psychology in most of the events.

London Woodland Witches Druids Eco-Magicians & Outdoor Pagans

Elephantom & The Witches

Elephantom attempts flying on broom-sm

Tamesa the Dark- Samhain ritual by Thames 31Oct14

Join us on Halloween Night in Central London on…31st October 2014.. by Millennium Bridge (Tate Galley side). We will be facilitating our annual `Thames: River of Souls / Samhain’ Ceremony to honour the Spirit of Thames & Ancestors.

This is the actual Halloween night.. Mist of fun-people in London will be in fancy dress…So Wear Fancy dress…Masks.. Witchy Cloaks.. Wizard attire.. Ghostly look…Werewolves & Vampires welcome! Bring your carved Pumpkins… Lanterns with light or candle in it..!

Thames Halloween Walk -31Oct2014 temp

Meeting point/ Tube:
Nearest Tube station is St.Pauls (or Blackfriars). Then ask/find directions and get to the Millennium Bridge. Cross the bridge, and get to the `Tate Modern Gallery’ side .. We will gather by the seats near Tate Gallery entrance (next to the door / green space)..

Meeting time:
Please get there anytime from 5.45pm to about 6pm.

Cloths/what to bring:
-Wear warm/ waterproof comfortable cloths… Please check weather for London for friday evening and dress appropriate. Wear good footwear..as standing/ walking for longer duration can get hard on the feet.

Food/drinks:
-Please bring small picnic-style food and drinks to share.
-Bring things for self.. and if feeling generous, something to share with others..

Numbers:
We may have 5 -50 people. It’s unpredictable..

Media/ photography/ privacy:
-It’s all in the open, in a public place. Any passers-by may stop and take photos.. We can’t stop them.
-We will ask outsiders to be non-intrusive during ceremony (best we can do).
-If you don;t like being photographed by anyone.. best wear a mask / fancy dress! 🙂

The plan (subject to changes on the evening):

1. We’ll meet n greet…so a bit of socialising.. share a sip of hot coffee and chalice / wine.
2.Then Mani (facilitator) will lead all to a nearby suitable spot along the Thames, to do the Ceremony for Samhain/ Ancestors. This is a serious but simple ceremony.. so children and non-pagans are all welcome.
3. After Ceremony (and more socials), we’ll have an informal candle-lit walk along the Thames-path (on pavement). The exact direction (towards Waterloo or towards London Bridge) will be announced at the meeting point.

Ritual content/ format:

-Simple consecration with salt/water & incense, followed by sacred-Magic circle casting, then calling the 4 elemental quarter energies.
-Invocation to the Dark Lord & Crone Goddess.
– All communing silently (meditative) with their deceased ancestors/loved ones who have passed away.
-Burning of regrets/ sorrows in Cauldron (small pieces of paper..)
-Blessing Cakes/ Wine and feasting (picnic)
-Offering coins to the spirit of Charon (ferryman) in the river Thames (to help dead spirits pass safely to underworld)
(At Samhain, circle & Quarters are not closed)

Our ceremonies are open to everyone, of all paths and religions. Children are allowed with parents or guardians supervision.

Bring some easy snacks & drinks to share on the way too..

Stay as long as you like.. and leave when you want to.

Safety note: No swords…no athames..or other `real’ weapons – or anything that might alarm the general public /police. We play safe and nice.. And you are responsible for your own good behaviour and health & safety!!

We do ask that you keep a watchful eye on your young children on the night. (If you bring your kids, that is).

With bright blessings
– Mani

link:
www.PaganFrontiers.com

Dark World of Pagans, Wiccans and Wizards… (words of wisdom for new commers)

darkLight- art~Mani NAlmost 2 decades ago, when I ventured slowly into the world of western pagans, Witches, wiccans and wizards..  little did I know that they are as human and fallible ..as I am.

Having come from a Hindu religious background, and then lost my faith a little (after the sudden and accidental  death of my father), I was drifting in life..  failing university exams, becoming a recluse with very few real friends..

I had always been interested in mind powers and psychic matters (dabbling with self-hypnosis, biorhythm, reading about telepathy, and telekinesis). So much so, that in A/Level, when I did so well in my Physics, I got a book voucher and the book I bought (handed to me officially in School assembly) was on Mind powers. I remember the Head Teacher startled and doing a double-take on the book before shaking my hand and handing it to me.

So after my father’s death, through some coincidences with friends and pen pals (in America..  they were the early pre-www world if telnetting and writing real letters!), I came across Runes, book in the garage in Egyptian mummifications..and into the `Body, Mind, Spirit’ world in London.

Those early conventions gave me a different impression.  That everyone in it was so full of love, and unconditional friendship, trust etc. Then over time, I came into the Pagan world… And there too, I held the same beliefs..  because everyone in it talked about `coming home’ and how we are all the same, and magical..

In those early days, my High Priestess Laura and I had many a discussions..  on what it is to have perfect love, perfect trust …in Wiccan circles.  And it is there that she broke my innocent bubble one day and told me that Pagans are people too.. and have their own flaws and prejudices.

I think ..though I heard her, and knew it intellectually, I did not understand it emotionally..

But over the years, I have learnt otherwise.

This world of Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Shamans, Wizards, Dragon-Riders, Fairy-Dusters… and Broom-Flyers..  are just ordinary people..  and sadly, despite the highest ideals of perfect love and perfect trust, and a love for the Earth and Gods and Goddesses,..   there is also much darkness..

Darkness in itself is not a crime..   I am referring to deeper human emotions..  anger, frustrations, jealously, envy, power seeking, colluding, controlling, betraying, scapegoating, ego-driven, holier-than-thou..and all the other `warts’..

No it is not a crime.. but what is…is that so many wounded pagans, wiccans and Wizards ..are unaware of their own flaws and humanity..  and that they are actually acting on those impulses..  Instead some pagans seem to project their own darker sides and qualities (shadow functions) on to others.

I have even witnessed the pack mentality within some wiccan groups, pagan communities & Organisations, and ritual groups, not to mention bullying behaviour.. where small things are taken out of context, and acted upon and reactions snow-balled..  mole hills turning to mountains..and before you know it, hearts are broken, reputations are destroyed, and worse, people who `came home’ are left feeling `homeless..’ and ostracized from the very community they belonged to.  These `rejected’ people can feel abandoned, bereft, extremely depressed, suicidal, and their lives can unravel disastrously. (That happens to anyone in an inclusive `love and light’ society where suddenly that person is excluded! )

As people work magically with powerful forces – elements, gods, goddesses, nature spirits, archangels..and so on.. and work to build communities, organisations, groups.. and memberships.. (such vastly magnificent goals and ideals)..  what they tend to forget ..is that at the heart of it all..  is the human element..  !  It’s akin to driving at 80 mph in the fast motorways (Highways) for hours ..and then struggling to adjust to the 20 mph speed limit in urban streets.  If no care is taken, and same speed is observed, an innocent in the street could get hurt.   And once the harm is done, it can not be undone. Neither human nor the divine ever forgets! Bad karma piles up..

Next blog: How to send Love & Light energy..!
Next blog: How to send Love & Light energy..!

My advise to anyone new venturing into Pagan, Esoteric or magical communities (and I am part of this community..) is to be sensible, careful, and …while keeping to high magical or divine ideals, also keep an open mind..and your feet firmly on the ground.

The Pagan Community is just like any other community..   Completely and utterly…human.!   Remember that, and all will go well..

-Mani Navasothy

Debate this: ps.This may seem like a very negative post – but just as my High Priestess offered me that advise all those years ago, I now offer it to others – having arrived at same wisdom through my own life’s ways.   While many pagans may shy away from such topics, for fear of it showing (our)  pagan community in bad light,  I am happy to debate these matters further f0r the sake of learning, sharing and growth (but please no abusive or bullying comments!)

Link

Pagan Federation blog (8 oct2012): Online conduct of members

 

Witchcraft vs Wicca – a comparison

A bit more on Witchcraft & Wicca.  Another article / write-up I was doing some months ago, and like to share here. -Mani

Witchcraft  vs Wicca:

 “ Witchcraft is a mystery tradition. It is best learnt experimentally. It is gritty, muddy, wet & wild in untamed nature, and requires dedication & discipline. Working with blood, bones, knots & spells are part of that, as well as the exploration of deities, trans-personal elements and cycles of nature.. from the fertile energies of spring to the solemn shadows of Samhain, leading to the light of Yule & Imbolc.”

Witchcraft is an unusual `religion’ – in that, you can practice the Craft without necessarily working with the deities in any way. There are so many books written by Scholars who have researched the subject, and there are yet more – all of whom tend to claim that in the ancient times, people practised witchcraft and they also worshiped certain gods and goddess of the Witches. This approach has been deeply favoured and `built-in’ to Wicca – the actual modern religious pagan path that also has its roots in Witchcraft.  So by saying `Witchcraft is an unusual religion…’  I was throwing a curve-ball, which I hope you caught on to immediately! It has that thought-provoking `gestalt’ feel to it- controversial, and pushing for a counter-rebellious response from you!

Let’s take it a notch or two down, and look at it in another way – from the gut, rather than through the eye-glasses of academics! The only way to understand Magic is to experience it by practicing it, and not by reading and talking about it!

What do we `know’ of Witchcraft from myths, here-say, fairy tales and medieval stories?  I refer to the general perceptions of general public, when I use the term `we’ here.

  • Witchcraft is practised by individuals called Witches.
  • Witches are mostly women – either old hags / ugly crones, or nubile nymphs who seduce and entice (men).
  • Witches work spells at Full moons, and Dark moons.
  • Witches do spells, chants, curses, love-potions, animal sacrifices, boil lotions & potions in their pots, pans and cauldrons.
  • Witches don’t like people’s company, and are rather solitary or reclusive. They live in small cluttered cottages, houses,  make-shift huts or adapted caves.
  • Witches have contracts with the devil or other dangerous unethical entities of supernatural make-up.
  • There are no major initiation frameworks. Witches are `natural’  or are made by other Witches in cultish rituals.

What do we know about Wicca, as it has been popularised in modern media, written about in books, magazines and websites?

  •  Wicca is a neo-pagan religion.
  • Wicca was  `founded’ or put-together by certain key English persons in the 1950’s in UK, using components and aspects borrowed from other western, eastern and ancient / classical magical practices.
  • Wiccans (people who follow Wicca) are also Witches, or practices Witchcraft.
  • Both men and Women can be Wiccans.
  • Wiccans mostly work and belong to covens.
  • Anyone with commitment and connections can join a coven or be initiated into Wicca (by another suitably qualified Wiccan). People can also follow the path and declare themselves as `Wiccan’.
  • There is a hierarchy in Wicca –  Coven leaders and members.
  • There is an initiation framework in wicca: Postulant, 1st degree initiate, 2nd degree Witch (High Priest / High Priestess), and 3rd degree Wiccan.
  • Wiccans have a clearly set-out framework for rituals – Opening, consecrations, energy raising, elements, deity work, blessing & sharing.
  • Wiccans worship Gods & Goddesses.
  • Deity energies are invoked into chosen people (Male & Female) in the coven at any one ritual. This aspires to `see’ the divine in humans.
  • Wiccans have rituals (or coven events) at Full moons, new moons, and 8 festivals around the year.
  • Wiccans do not do animal sacrifices, nor eat children.
  • Wiccans follow set-out ethics and rules which act to deter most wiccans from `abusing’ their magical powers for egotistical, harmful or extreme selfish causes.

This list is not extensive or exhaustive, but it serves to illustrate some of the main perceptions we have of the 2 concepts – Witchcraft and Wicca.

But a key point must be made – Olden day Witches were not Wiccans.    It’s doubtful that most of them even referred to themselves as Witches (for far of persecution?).  But modern day Wiccans do and are `qualified’ (or rather given a hierarchical validation at initiations) to call themselves Witches, as well as being Wiccans.   It’s as if the more acceptable aspects of Witchcraft have been taken, and amalgamated with other pagan practical frameworks, and be now known as Wicca.

My view is that Wicca has parts of Witchcraft within it, but not all. And Witchcraft is a more nebulous raw practice of dabbling in spell-craft and magic, without so much of the contrived framework of Wicca that would either define or restrict it.

(c)Mani Navasothy (23Feb12)

This was used in the website Witchcraft & Magic