Are You Pagan, Wiccan, Or……?

We’ve all heard it, or at least been asked it, whether by other pagans or by individuals.

Are you Pagan or Wiccan?”

Now if you’re new to this, these words might be confusing. Aren’t they the same thing? You ask yourself. In fact, your pretty sure that there ISN’T a difference. This assumption might or might not annoy more ‘seasoned’ witches—who having made the exact same mistake as you when they were younger—and cause them to give you a long list of the differences. And it won’t be just about being Pagan or Wiccan, they might even delve into the more complex system that is the make up of the term ‘Pagan’. Words like Asatru, Dianic, Druid, and Hedge Witch will also come into play. Woah. You say. Woah, woah WOAH. How can there be so many!? What the heck is the difference!?

Let me make this as easy a transition as possible for you. “Pagan”  is derived from the noun ‘paganus’, which means country dweller, and is an umbrella term that clumps together all who are non Judeo-Christian (this includes Buddhists, Taoists, and even Shinto). Under this umbrella are people who might follow traditions/religions from their heritage (like the Irish or Greek),  things they feel more compelled to (like Egyptian or even Babylonian), or simply believe in a ‘great all’ and worship the earth and the elementals within them instead. At the bottom of this page I will give you some definitions to the other traditions. Needless to say, if someone says “I’m Pagan” That could mean anything from ‘I don’t believe in any one god/goddess, just elementals’, to a specific tradition “I’m Asatru!”.

Now, Wicca. It derives from the term “wicce”, a Norse word meaning “wise one”. Wicca is a bit more structured, with levels and degrees. In fact, to be considered a ‘true wiccan’ you must be initiated by a high priestess who in turn, had been initiated by a high priestess, and so forth (traditionally, it must be a priestess, not a priest.) There are also those who are solitary practitioners who dedicate themselves. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this, and I’m not here to get into that. Those who are wiccan have a clear belief in either both the goddess and god, or simply the goddess, and celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats. (Note: while both pagans—of the European descent—and wiccans celebrate the same wheel of the year, they might do it different ways. For instance, ‘pagans’ might simply give water and their first harvest of fruit/veggies/grains to the earth/gods, wiccans will do a ritual and create a sacred space, honoring the god and goddess and phase of life they’re in at that moment)

I hope this has cleared some things up for you, and believe me, I know the lines can be very blurry sometimes. For instance, for a very long time I used the terms ‘pagan’ and ‘wiccan’ interchangeably when I first started out, but as the years went by I realized there WAS a difference. Wicca is very structured, methodical, and highly secretive when it comes to what you’ve learned through your mentor. It’s not for everyone. ‘Paganism’ is where I more or less found myself leaning, because I could create my own rituals and place an alter the way I wanted to place it (yes, there IS a correct way to set an alter, I’m sure you’ve seen them in beginners books), and because my way of worshiping the gods was a bit different than the Wiccan’s set traditional rites.

Hopefully somewhere in these words you’ve found some sense of peace, so that when the next time you meet someone and they ask you what you are you can proudly say “I’m _____.” If you’re at a point in your life where you’re still learning, or are still trying to find a tradition that calls to you, I’ve made a list of some traditions you might want to look up. There is of course, Egyptian gods and magic, Santeria (which comes from Mexican traditions), and you might want to take a look into the Order of the Golden Dawn, which I BELIEVE was created during the Victorian era.

Now for a list of some of the traditions in the ‘Pagan Umbrella’

Asatru: This is the practice and traditions of the Norse. Odin, Freya, etc.

Dianic: Greek/Roman. This is the tradition that is almost strictly goddess only. The god is either non-existent or plays a very minor role.

Druid: (or more likely, ‘Neo-Druid’, as druidism was an oral tradition, and most of it was lost when Christianity came along) The practice of the old ways of Irish, English, and Scottish rituals and beliefs.

Hedge Witch: A witch who might or might not worship a god/goddess. More earth based in nature. They might be recognized for working with earth such as gardening, healing, divinations, and even craft making. They can also be a Kitchen Witch (one who practices magic with food. Very often they grow their own garden, and so could have both titles)

Gardenerian: The man who brought forth Wicca from a secreted Coven in England.  

Stregha: Italian witchcraft. You may hear people of this tradition mention Aradia. She is not a goddess, she is a woman who preached the old ways to the people of Italy and formed covens.   

Here are two links that I found super helpful and informative, if you want to read them.

On Wiccan: http://blessedbe.sugarbane.com/wicca.htm

On Stregha: http://www.paganlibrary.com/reference/on_hereditary_italian_witchcraft.php

Advertisements

Love Spells The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Love, as described in the dictionary is a noun meaning “A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.”

It is a feeling most people know well. The thrill, the rush. How your heart beats faster just hearing his/her name from someone else’s lips. The memory of them handing you your pencil and saying “you dropped this.” Was there ever a poem written more beautifully than those words!? Love in all forms is beautiful, whether from a significant other or a lick from your dog/cat. It has been recorded in history books throughout, and plays, that love is the greatest attainment. That it has the power to change the world (And it does, look at Napoleon and Josephine.), and topple mountains. Is it any wonder that hand in hand with this belief, came love spells?

Love spells have been around since humans have been able to make things. Even the ancients of Babylon and India had guaranteed potions and foods for you! Now, I know that many pagans (may I even say Wiccans?) out there who might be new, or hey, even old hats, have heard and read things that seem to contradict. “And it harm none, do what ye will” sayeth the rede. And that means not taking advantage of some ones free will. Yet book after book (especially for teens) has a portion of love spells in them. There are even whole books dedicated to the 1001 spells/potions to get a man/woman. Some pagans will tell you to NEVER EVER EVER DO LOVE SPELLS, as it is a dark practice, while others encourage it.

Is there a right way? A wrong way? Well…yes. Now, before I get attacked and thrown to very hungry sharks, let me explain. Many people ask “Well, can I MAKE someone love me? Because this spell here says I can.” Honestly? Yes. I’ve seen it done by a girl in the coven I was once in. The consequences were terrible, and she paid a VERY high price. She DID in fact, force another friend’s boyfriend to love her. It lasted only a few hours, but the damage was done. The boy had gone to his then girlfriend (my friend), crying and saying he didn’t know what had overcome him. They broke up, and the girl was banished from the coven, all ties broken. To this day, she has been unable to keep a loving relationship. This, dear readers, is what comes from forcing someone to love you.

There is power behind everything you do and say. Forcing someone to do something that is against their nature will only hurt you in ways that you can’t even begin to comprehend. So is there a way to get Sally/Sam to like you without forcing them? Why yes there is! Love spells do not necessarily need to be about FORCING the person to love you. You can do spells that make you appear more attractive/interesting to the opposite sex (its all there, you just haven’t shined yet!), or spells that might give you the courage to express your feelings to the person.  In fact, sometimes just wearing an oil made for attracting love to you along with focus can do it (no chant needed!) However, it is NEVER a good idea to force them. If they don’t notice you after the spell has been done (with intent and harm to none), then it wasn’t meant to be. You can also do spells that bring a PERSON you would like to date.

That doesn’t mean you bring a specific person to you. For instance, you don’t ask the gods to give you ‘Brian’. You ask for traits that you would like your prospective partner to have. One of THE most effect spells (and the simplest) is one that I have used on more than one occasion during my time being pagan, and I have had the results within half an of performing the spell (Any spells/recipies/oils I give you, I HAVE made/tried.).

I believe love is at its most powerful when it is least expected. That’s what makes love so wonderful! But waiting around and hoping it’ll come certainly never helped any one! If you are ready for a relationship, or want to just get out there in the dating scene, this spell will work for you faster than you can say “gummi bear!” There is no need to call quarters, but I would suggest casting a circle to keep out any influences or weird energies. All you need are the following:

1 pink candle (it can be any size, I use chime candles)

A piece of paper

A Pen

After casting your circle, take your paper and write down all of the attributes you are looking for in your soon to be mate and then fold it three times. You CAN add love oil to this, if you want, but its really only for ‘umph’. Light the pink candle and invoke a goddess of love (I personally use Aphrodite, and BOY does she come through super fast! I’ve also used Angus (Irish God). He took a couple of weeks, but I met a wonderful guy through him.) or you can use any goddess/god of your choosing that deals with love. Once invoked offer your list to the goddess/god (meaning, burn it. Please make sure you do this in a safe area, like your kitchen! If you can’t, then put it in a drawer where you will forget about it. The spell takes a little longer, but it’s still very effective). Thank the goddess/god and let the candle burn out.

That’s it! It works anywhere from three days to three weeks (depending on who you ask for help and how far away your potentials are). If for some reason it doesn’t work, perhaps now isn’t the time to be looking for love, and you should really check if you’re in a good point in your life to be in a relationship.

In my opinion (based on my morals and research) there IS a correct way to do love spells, and as long as it isn’t impeding on anyone’s free will, it is perfectly acceptable to do them. Anything that requires you to force someone to love you is not only dangerous it’s wrong. In the end, they aren’t loving YOU, they’re loving whatever the potion is making them see and feel. And that isn’t ANY way to live a life. For you or the other person. So if you’re going to do a love spell, and you find one that says “make the man/woman of your dreams fall in love with you” don’t walk, RUN.

Remember, love is something that should move mountains, make you giggle like an idiot when you see them, and make your day seem brighter and the world better.

*NOTE: Please remember to put ONLY POSITIVE things. I did a list once that had things that I ‘didn’t want’ as well. But the gods gave me everything I had written down (a joke maybe??), and instead I got a stalker (I had written, ‘not clingy’. Oh boy!). So its very important to learn from my dumbness, and NOT put negative things on the paper.

Tarot Tutorial: A 3 Card Spread (video)

I love using this spread! It’s great when you’re first learning, and it’s great when your an old hat! A basic tarot spread that you can use no matter how long you’ve been doing it!

Magickal Connections

Today we’re going to learn how to connect the traditional meanings for three cards with our intuitive interpretations in order to do a Three Card Spread.  You’ll be amazed at how much information can be found in just three cards, how much can be revealed, especially when read intuitively.

View original post