Witchery: Why Eclectic Witchcraft?

As previously discussed, there are many different paths to travel for spirituality.  When it comes to the world religions, spiritual paths, and even practices such as secular based witchcraft, there are branched paths leading from some of the oldest and most established belief systems in the world, from all over Africa, Asia, and Europe in numerous directions. Being the cradle of civilization, many of the best known belief systems started in Africa and spread as humanity and written history did to other continents and countries as time progressed and people looked for a place to call their own.

Some of the so-called new, or neo, pagan practices have been based on rediscovered information, some of it extremely well documented as having roots which come from ancient times that have been brought forward, to our modern era, through renewed interest in the ancient ways that our ancestors practiced their beliefs. From African Diasporic Traditions handed down person to person, which held focus on relationships with nature, ancestors and spirits, etc. to Norse beliefs with their own traditions, Gods, and Goddesses, to ancient Celtic beliefs passed down orally for centuries, and finally preserved in written form during the Middle Ages, and on to discovered Egyptian practices found on papyrus centuries after they were written. People are returning to the faiths that call to their individual spirits in record numbers.

From old and new traditional paths to the varying forms of Witchcraft, to Wicca, and to other new age belief systems that have sprung up during the last one hundred years, people are actively seeking a way to make sense of their personal beliefs, whether they are related to a specific faith or stand-alone practices. Many different varieties: Asatru, Candomblé, Hellenic Reconstructionism, Kemetic Reconstructionism, Luciferianism, Neopaganism, Satanism, Vodou, Witchcraft , Yoruba, Zoroastrianism, and so many more systems, or paths, are practiced around the globe, not just centralized to where they once began. People of all ethnicities are discovering practices they never knew existed before, but which seem to be made for their souls.

http://www.humanium.org/en/children-and-religions/

However, just as the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism have become fractured religions, consisting of many, and in the case of Christianity sometimes thousands, of variations that continue to divide as time and beliefs progress, so have many other belief systems, including the African Diasporic faiths, Buddhist faith, Hindu faith, etc. They have splintered into varied belief forms that change and adapt to the people who follow them. All these various paths are valid for the people who believe in them and each of these paths have their own inherent beliefs and basic truths, and as truth is truth, and truth is universal, all these basic truths may be shared from one path to another. This explains the prevalence of so many paths having the same truths as their core values.

This is my reason for practicing eclectic witchcraft. Eclectic witchcraft tends to blend portions of many paths together as one. It takes the common truths as seen from all the different paths and acknowledges them as equally valid and blends them together into a single craft, or path. Each eclectic witch must make a choice of which portions of belief systems they will use in their practice of witchcraft. Some choose to use a blend of Nordic and Celtic paths; others may choose a blend of Christianity and Vodou; while still others may practice an eclectic blend of witchcraft that is completely devoid of any religious overtones and entirely secular in nature.

The thing about eclectic witchcraft is that it does not have to be a “one-size-fits-all” belief system. With eclectic witchcraft, as you study different paths and belief systems, if something specific calls to you, a particular practice, a specific deity, an accepted way of performing a ritual or casting a spell, etc, you learn all you can about it, try it out, and see if it blends well with your current beliefs and practices. Mixing and mingling various beliefs and practices in a way that specifically suits your soul. For a layman’s way of describing the way it works, imagine that all the spiritual paths are lined up in little bowls on a table, in a fashion similar to a salad bar. Just as you might choose a variety of lettuces, and vegetables whose flavors blend well, so may you find a group of ritual or spell casting techniques that blend into a nice whole for you. Add in some varieties of additional flavors like croutons or cheeses, just as you might add in working with a powerful entity or a deity, or a specific additional layer, like metals, runes, glyphs, or sigils, or themes or colored candles. Top it all off by adding in some herbs, and/or spells oils, just as you would top the salad with a dressing and voilà, it is perfect for you!

By Tudokin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Some say this is cultural appropriation, others say it is a misappropriation, of the cultural beliefs of a group to whom a person was not born. However, in this day and age of mixed ethnicities, multiple lineages, and even belief in past lives and reincarnated souls, which I believe bear direct importance on our current lives, I cannot believe in this strict interpretation of a spiritual path. I am aware that some consider this a very unpopular stance. I understand that some people object to others practicing a faith or path they feel the person is not entitled to, born to, or raised in. Again, I cannot believe in this strict interpretation. I cannot force myself to believe that merely because I was born to a specific set of parent’s with a set variety of ethnic lineages that I am beholden to the one way that my parents chose to raise me, n a narrow subset of a spiritual path shared by the one or two accepted lineages that my parents chose to acknowledge.

If this irritates or inflames others sensibilities; I will apologize for being the source of this irritation, but I will not limit the path that calls to my soul, base on someone’s irritations or even their cultural outrage. Cultural diversity, especially in the United States and other regions that were heavily influenced by centuries of immigration and inter-marriage are known for the multicultural “melting” pots they are. I do not believe, nor have I experienced, being judged by various and assorted deities, merely because my chosen list of deities with whom I have taken the time to build relationships, is not purely based a single pantheon, path, or faith. If this were so, then why would they work together so well when called upon? I find it interesting that the “man-made” rules call for one specific thing, yet the deities do not seem to follow these rules that some men claim they prefer.

As an eclectic, my job is to honor and respect any deities with whom I work. Personally, I speak to them, give gifts, and address them on issues that share important with work for which they are well known. I would not ask a war deity to bless a spell relating to marital health for a couple, any more than I would ask a deity of harvest, drink and song to join their energy with mine to fight against atrocities committed in the name of ISIL or Boko Haram. Common sense is still a requirement for any spiritual path, just as it is for every day life, even for eclectic witches. Follow in the ways your soul leads you, not in arbitrary rules established by some group of people who do not know you. If you are called to a strict interpretation of one specific path, then follow your path with joy, but remember, all witches are different and as such each witch’s path may differ greatly from your own, it is a good point to practice tolerance until you are given a reason not to.

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Our Beloved Ashitaka

Witches’ Spell: Safe Traveling Spell/Hiding from the Police Spell

One of the best things about being a witch is the extra level of support I have when tending to our family’s needs. For example, when I am traveling with my sons in our beloved Ashitaka, I tend to cast magick spells for various and assorted reasons as I feel the need arises. The way I look at it is, since the magick is there, since I am a witch; why not take a minute or two before we get on the road to set a spell to protect the trip from unexpected dangers.

Sometimes, I must admit, my use of this particular magick spell is not as ethically pure as my other spells. I must admit that I have forgotten to renew license tags or (more often) forgot the danged vehicle inspection tags on a few occasions. As such, spelling the car to be invisible to the police earns me a “Bad Mommy! You should be ashamed of yourself!” lecture any time my sons catch me spelling the car for it.

You have to understand, I love Arlington, I really do, and our police department has been wonderful to me and mine. However, being like a half mile tops from one of the main police stations has its downfall for forgetful people like me. Sadly, the boys all know the gestures for my car blessings and they know the difference between a “going several states away on vacation spell”, “crossing the state line to visit family spell” and the variations when mom has forgotten to pay the tags. 😛 Hence the “bad mommy” comments, the boys make as they laugh and wag their fingers at me.

Granted, it is merely a variation of my “Safe Car Spell” that I use when we are traveling long distances, when we go visiting family, or when I get “that feeling” when I get in the car. Last time I got “that feeling” was back a few years ago when we barely missed a head-on collision in bad weather during a high-speed chase on Beach Street, by a low rider slipping into our oncoming traffic lane, out of control and the Fort Worth PD car on his tail doing the same. Now, when I go through that area, I always spell the car just as a habit.

Basics: I use hand gestures and call on deity for the four sides, of the vehicle as I draw Holy/Power symbols, the sides drawn in the “Sacred Hands Coven” purple, as I think of it. The top and bottom drawn in a shade called “Perfect Blue” and while all four sides are one power symbol, top and bottom are a second symbol. I visualize ivy beginning at the center of the top power symbol and growing down ward, twining over around and through all the parts of the magickal symbols and creating a perfect inner bubble of protection. I use ivy for good luck, for its protective properties and its ability to prevent disaster and negativity. Once the ivy has formed a perfect ball around our car, even extending into the earth under our vehicle, I visualize it as transparent, invisible to any eyes, thus we are invisible inside the bubble of protection.

For protection from the Police, I visualize it growing down I call upon my chosen deities and recite:

As it starts over the top and winds down into the ground,
Weaving in and out of the power/holy symbols I placed.
It protects us from their vision; it blocks us from their sight.
They do not see us, they do not stop us, they do not ticket us.
They do not know we are here. We pass invisible.
Nothing is harmed by our passing, nothing animate or inanimate,
As we go over, under, around, and through all things are safe in our passing.
Through my power and the power of (deities) and make it so, so mote it be.

For the protection from harm, it is much the same:

As it starts over the top and winds down into the ground,
Weaving in and out of the power/holy symbols I placed.
It protects us from all danger; it protects us from all harm.
No harm can find us, no harm befalls us, we are tucked inside.
It blocks all that would try to harm us. We travel in safety.
Nothing is harmed by our passing, nothing animate or inanimate,
As we go over, under, around, and through all things are safe around us.
Through my power and the power of (deities) and make it so, so mote it be.

One of my favorite things about witchcraft is that when using energy work, nothing else is needed. Only the energy is needed when combined with focus and intent. Yes, I call on deity. Yes, I choose to use hand gestures. Neither of them are truly needed for the spell to work. I have friends who have spelled their vehicles so that all they need is the snap of their fingers to activate the safe travel spell they have placed on their car.

Why is mine so much more complex? Why does mine require so much more of me than his requires of him? Because, quite frankly, I enjoy the ritual and the ornate manner of my spell. I enjoy the feel of the spell as the energy is directed into the symbols. It pleases me to have an elegant drawing of power symbols, it pleases me to wind my fingers through the air as I see the ivy winding, through the symbols, and I enjoy the smoothness of the hand movements required as I speak the “over, under, around, and through”. It tickles my fancy and my fancy likes tickling. What can I say, it is a witch thing.

 

Attributed to Domenicus van Wijnen (1661–after 1690) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Forums: Real Pagans Are… by Kieran Tala Dawnshadow

~~~Bloggers Note: Kieran is a smart and savvy woman. She can put up with a lot of crap in group discussions before she “puts her foot down” verbally. She is very even-tempered and extremely bright. We have had many good conversations in group, on each other’s walls and in private messages. She recently decided she had enough of the silliness that occasionally goes on in our group discussions and made her point quite well in the following post. It is a point that I believe can be used on every witch’s wall to remind all who stop by and read that there are many paths and only you can choose your path. At the same time, remember, you cannot choose or dictate a path for anyone else.

For some reason a great many of the interesting posts seem to come from the same handful of people, one of whom is Kieran. She is not a part of SacredHandsCoven and I have never been graced to meet her IRL, but from what I have read of her posts and the conversations we’ve had, she strikes me as one of those women you want to hang out with in a kitchen, trading recipes and cooking all night while talking over life, the universe and everything! Thanks for permission to post, Kieran!~~~


I am getting really sick of people trying to dictate what “real pagans” are or should be. I try, I really try, to let it roll off my back, but after a while, the absolute ignorance just starts to be too much. So, for anyone who hasn’t been reading the recent posts (for which you are blameless), let me lay this out for you.

REAL PAGANS:

  • are (mono or poly) theists, atheists, and deists;
  • vote republican, democrat, green, or independent;
  • do harm or do no harm;
  • are male, female, trans, or questioning;
  • are gay, straight, bi, pan, or asexual;
  • revere nature, believe in science;
  • mostly study, mostly practice;
  • go/went to college, didn’t receive formal education;
  • hold hate in their hearts, hold no hate in their hearts;
  • they are liberal, conservative, and moderate;
  • they believe that our fate is in the gods’ hands, or that it is in our hands;
  • they are vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters;
  • they believe in karma, or don’t.

We all found our faiths in different ways and for different reasons, and we all live our lives in different ways, too! So for the love of god/gods/goddess/whatever, can everybody please stop trying to shame and scare others into doing what you think they should be doing, or more specifically, conforming to your personal definition of what a pagan should be?

It’s long past old.

~~~ Want to read more from Kieran? Check out her blog: http://darkwolf547.com/ ~~~