Craft of the Wise

Ancient knowledge for today's times

BELIEFS OF GODDESS WORSHIP

BELIEFS OF GODDESS WORSHIP

Christianity teaches that God is transcendent, is separate from nature, and is
represented to humankind through masculine imagery. Witchcraft holds a
pantheistic view of God. God is nature, therefore God is in all things and all
things are a part of God. However, this God is in actuality a goddess.

A fundamental belief in Goddess Worship is the idea that the goddess predates
the male God. The goddess is the giver of all life and is found in all of
creation. The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be overstressed.
The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies
as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy,
and our anger as purifying. Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength,
enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.

The modern Goddess movement is an attempt to integrate the feminine back into
the world as we know it. This means bringing the Goddess out of the shadows and
back into the limelight where she belongs. Part of most modern Goddess
traditions is the idea that Goddess exists within and around everything in
creation. Therefore, if Goddess is sacred, then so is the Earth, so our bodies,
etc. Moreover, the relationship between all of these things is equally sacred.
Therefore, not only do we need to revere the creations of the Goddess, we must
revere the relationship and the systems that Goddess has created, for they each
have their purpose. The problem is that we don’t always know what the true
system is anymore because our society is so corrupted by the patriarchy. For
example, if we only examine the system as it exists today, we might come to the
conclusion that women’s place within the system is necessarily subservient to
the men in the system. Naturally, eco-feminists would laugh at this idea. First
of all, eco-feminism maintains that the natural order of things is not linked by
hierarchical value, so the very notion of men governing women is absurd. The
nature of things would require reciprocal communication and integral networking.

In light of this, then, Goddess religion asserts that Goddess and God cannot be
viewed separately, but rather as a network of energies that work together to
better the entire network.

Goddess Archetypes:

THE MAIDEN
The Maiden is the first aspect of the Goddess, presented to us as a young woman,
blossoming into womanhood, exploring her sexuality and learning of her beauty.
She is most often depicted as a teenaged girl or a woman in her very early
twenties.

Unlike the images of young women in many patrifocal religions, the Maiden is not
necessarily depicted as a virgin in most Goddess traditions. In Catholicism,
Mary is depicted not only as a virgin maiden, but continues to be a virgin
throughout the duration of her lifetime, regardless of the fact that she was
married and gave birth to a child. This has more to do with the taint patrifocal
religions assign female sexuality than anything else. But because women’s
sexuality is not denigrated in Goddess traditions, there is no need to associate
virginity with the Maiden Goddess.

In fact, the Maiden Goddess is seen as a particularly sexual being. Because she
has just bloomed into her womanly form, she is particularly interested in her
body and what it can do. She is interested in her beauty, and she learns to
manipulate the affections of other’s based upon her feminine wiles.

Some might take offense at my use of the word manipulate in the preceding
sentence, but in fact, that is what sexuality is about, both on the part of the
male and the female. Flirtation, courting and other manners of getting the
attentions of the opposite sex is certainly a form of manipulation. It is not
manipulation with malicious intent, to be sure, but when you attempt to curb the
attitudes or thoughts of others through your own appearance or behavior, this is
a form of manipulation, and by no means negative.

Because the Maiden is associated with the first blossoming of womanhood,
adulthood and sexuality, she is associated with the Springtime. Just as her body
develops breasts and she becomes sexually capable, so too does the Earth mimic
her development. Flowers bloom, the Earth awakens from the deep sleep of winter
and begins to procreate again. Animals lie with one another, flowers are
pollinated. Spring is a time for new beginnings. It is the counterpart to the
winter of Death.

Just as Spring is the counter to Winter, so too is the Maiden the counter to the
Crone. The Crone is the embodiment of death, and subsequently rebirth, and it is
through the aspect of the Maiden that the Crone is able to pass from this world
and be reborn. As the young Goddess delves into her sexuality, and eventually
becomes pregnant, the Elder Goddess may pass away and give her life that the
Maiden may become Mother, and one day, Crone. The cycle is never ending.

The Maiden takes the Green Man (Horned Lord, many other names in many other
cultures) as her consort. In some cultures, the Green Man may be her brother or
even her son. At first glance, the courtship between the Maiden and the Sun God
seems ripe with incest, because he is always somehow related to her. But if you
read the myths associated with the Mother Goddess and how it came to pass that
she became pregnant, you will usually find that she became pregnant by her
husband, who has to give his life for one reason or another, and she agrees to
bring him back into he world as the child in her womb. In essence, she gives
birth to her husband, rather than taking her son as her lover. This is even true
in the Catholic goddess vision: Jesus was the son of God, but he was also God.
Because this idea is confusing and can lead to ideas of incest much like I
discussed above, the Christian church left Mary a virgin, thus bypassing the
whole sexual encounter, and thus the issue of incest altogether.

Maiden Goddess of Note include:
Diana, Persephone, Kore, Bleudowedd, Artemis, Ariadne, Hestia,
Athena, Aphrodite, Minerva, and Venus.

THE MOTHER
The aspect of the Mother Goddess is probably the most widely known and most
widely envisioned in most cultures. Because the Earth nourishes and replenishes
us, most goddess cultures did pay reverence to the Earth as the Mother, and
therefore the Goddesses that are most prominent and about whom stories are most
prolific are the goddesses that are the representation of the Mother.

She is, in virtually every aspect, a divine or celestial representation of our
earthly mothers. Everyone has an earthly mother, or at least did at one point,
so we readily understand the relationship between mother and child. The mother
is the protector, the care-giver, the kisser of wounds, and the disciplinarian.
The Divine Mother is no different.

Many of the most ancient goddess figures that archeology has uncovered are
goddesses depicted as round, pregnant women. They feature large breasts and
full, meaty hips. Some archeologists (patriarchal, close minded fellows, to be
sure) have written these goddess figures off as nothing more than prehistoric
“porn” figures. However, the generally accepted opinion is that these figures,
found in such places as France, modern day Turkey, and Egypt, are actually
representations of a mother goddess. There is some speculation that perhaps
these figures are not goddesses at all, but rather figures used in fertility
rites to enable women to conceive children. This too is a possibility, but when
combined with other information that we have (such as other evidence of
prehistoric goddess worship, and the fact that the connection between sex and
pregnancy was not made until much later than the dates associated with these
figures) leads most scholars to believe that these statues are indeed goddess
representations.

Although the depiction of the Mother Goddess as a pregnant woman is prominent,
she is certainly not always seen that way. The Mother aspect may be seen with
small child in tow (most often a boy, who later becomes her consort, as is
discussed in the section on the Maiden). This aspect of the Mother Goddess plays
on the care-giving, sweet, loving aspect of the Goddess. However, do not be
fooled into thinking that the Goddess as Mother is a pussy cat. She can also be
a warrior.

Like earthly mothers, the Goddess is fiercely protective of her children, and in
order to provide that protection she will often don the face of the warrior. The
Warrior Goddess most probably gained popularity among people who had begun to
adopt a more patriarchal (or at least patrifocal) structure. It might be
presumptuous to say that matrifocal cultures were not particularly warlike, but
it is safe to say that patriarchal cultures were more so. In either case, the
warrior Goddess did become popular. In this aspect she is Amazon, fierce and
strong, and able to take on any man to protect what needs protection.

Just as the maiden is represented by the season of Spring, the Mother aspect is
present in Summer. By summer, berries and fruits are ripe, ready for the
plucking. Vegetable gardens are mature and harvest is close at hand. The sun is
high in the sky, and even though the sun is typically seen as a Male Deity, some
cultures did associate the sun with the Goddess, (most notably the early
Egyptian culture) and thus the high sun of summer was associated with the
Mother, who was also seen as the pinnacle of the cycle of life.

In western traditions, the Goddess remains pregnant until the Winter Solstice,
at which time she gives birth to a sun god of some kind. (Note the adaptation of
the Christian church …Christmas, anyone?) The Catholic Goddess Mary also falls
into the category of the Mother Goddess, because she does give birth to King at
Solstice. (At least this is how the Christians celebrate the holiday, even
though biblical scholars suggest Jesus was very likely born during a warm
month)

Mary is a curiosity though, because she is a Dual Goddess, and not a Triple
Goddess as most multifaceted Goddesses are. She is a maiden because she remains
a virgin (and though not all maidens are virgins, all virgin goddesses are
maidens), and yet because she gives birth, she is also a Mother. However, there
is no reference in the Catholic tradition of Mary as an older woman. Therefore,
Mary’s development ended with her at the Mother phase.

Mother Goddesses of Note include:
Demeter, Isis, Cerridwyn, Kali, Gaia, Oceana, Brigit, Nuit, Hera,
Selene, Anu, Dana, Arianrhod, and Epona

THE CRONE
The Crone is the final aspect of the Goddess. The Crone is most often depicted
as a Grandmother, a SageWoman, or a Midwife. She is the keeper of Occult
Knowledge, the Mysteries and the Queen of the Underworld. It is through the
Crone that knowledge of magick, the Dark, and other secrets of the ages are
passed down.

The Crone is, in some ways, a Triple Goddess herself. She has lived through the
tender, sensual age of Maidenhood, suffered the birth pains of Motherhood, and
now carries with her the memories of these passages into her old age. But though
she has experienced these events, these are not the things she represents, and
therefore she is not revered for these traits. Nevertheless, having endured
these experiences makes her the wise woman that she is, and enables her to
guide us through the dark.

Her role as Midwife is both symbolic as well as actual. Traditionally, it is
always the older women of the tribe who facilitate the birth of children, most
likely because they themselves had gone through, but also because the role of
midwife was a sacred position, and thus suitable for an older tribeswoman.
Certainly the Crone fulfills this aspect in that she is the midwife to the Queen
of Heaven when she gives birth to the Oak King at Yule.

But symbolically she is the midwife in our lives as well, guiding us from one
phase of life to the next. If you see progression from one phase of life to the
next and can see it as a rebirth process, then envision the Crone as the aspect
of the goddess that guides you through that time. Transition is very difficult,
and for most people it is a time of darkness. It is a time where we have to rely
on our intuition, because we are unfamiliar with the territory. But according to
the myths and ancient lore, we receive our intuition from the Crone. It is she
who guides us, and it is she who facilitates our birth.

The Crone Goddess is often times the least seen, because she does represent
death, and with death comes fear: fear of the unknown, fear of losing our loved
ones, and fear of being alone. But we must remember that with death always comes
rebirth. The Crone always brings with her promises of the Maiden, and the cycle
never ends.

The Mother aspect of the Goddess is discussed as being a Warrior Goddess, but
the Crone can be a Warrior Goddess as well. Where the Mother Goddess is the
blood of battle, the War Cry incarnate, the fighting Amazon, the Crone is the
Strategy, the ability to see what cannot be seen. She is the seer, the General.
The Crone Goddess does not don the face of the warrior to shed blood, but she
will provide the courage to walk through the dark, the ability to seek and
destroy the enemy, whether the enemy is actual, or internal.

In many respects, the Crone Goddess is the aspect of the Goddess that is most
called upon to conquer inner demons. This is due to the fact that as the keeper
of mysteries, the Crone is also the Keeper of the Underworld. With her help, we
are able to travel into the Underworld and fight whatever demons haunt us.
Likewise, once we are ready to be reborn, she again acts as the midwife and
guides us once again into the light.

Crone Goddesses of Note include:
Hecate, Kali, Cerridwyn, Badb, Cailleach, Macha, and the Morrigan

written by susan lucas

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Beliefs of the Witch | Leave a comment

_BASIC_PRINCIPLES_OF_THE_CRAFT_

_BASIC_PRINCIPLES_OF_THE_CRAFT_

1.   The first principle is that of love, and it is expressed in the ethic,
          “DO AS YOU WILL, SO LONG AS YOU HARM NONE”
     a) love is not emotional in it’s essence, but is an attribute of the
        individual as expressed in relation to other beings;
     b) harming others can be by thought, word, or deed;
     c> it is to be understood the “none” includes oneself;
     d) the harm which is to be regarded as unethical is gratuitous harm; war,
        in general, is gratuitous harm, although it is ethical to defend
        oneself and one’s liberty when threatened by real and present danger,
        such as defense against invasion.

2.   The Witch must recognize and harmonize with the forces of the universe, in
     accord with the Law of Polarity: everything is dual; everything has two
     poles; everything has it’s opposite; for every action there is a reaction;
     all can be categorized as either active or reactive in relation to other
     things.
     a) Godhead is one unique and transcendant wholeness, beyond any
        limitations or expressions; thus, it is beyond our human capacity to
        understand and identify with this principle of Cosmic Oneness, except
        as It is revealed to us in terms of It’s attributes and operation.
     b) The most basic and meaningful attribute of the One that we, as humans,
        can relate to and understand, is that of polarity, of action and reac-
        tion; therefore Witches recognize the Oneness of the Divinity, but
        worship and relate to the Divine as the archetypal polarity of God and
        Goddess, the All-Father and the Great Mother of the universe.  The
        Beings are as near as we can approach to the One within our human
        limitations of understanding and expression, though it is possible to
        experience the divine Oneness through the practices of the Mysteries.
     c) Harmony does not consist of the pretty and the nice, but the balanced,
        dynamic, poised co-operation and co-relation.

3.   The Witch must recognize, and operate within the framework of the Law of
     Cause and Effect; every action has it’s reaction, and every effect has
     it’s cause.  All things occur according to this law; nothing in the
     universe can occur outside this law, though we may not always appreciate
     the relation between a given effect and it’s cause. Subsidiary to this is
     the Law of Three, which states that whatever goes forth must return
     threefold, whether of good or ill; for our actions affect more than people
     generally realize, and the resulting reactions are also part of the
     harvest.

4.   As Above, So Below.  That which exists in the Macrocosm exists, on a
     smaller scale and to a lesser degree, in the Microcosm. The powers of the
     universe exist also in the human, though in general instance they lie
     dormant. The powers and abilities can be awakened and used if the proper
     techniques are practiced, and this is why initiates of the Mysteries are
     sworn to guard the secrets from the unworthy:  Much harm can be done by
     those who have power without responsibility, both to others and to
     themselves according to the Laws of Cause and Effect and of Threefold
     Return.
     a) Since our philosophy teaches that the universe is the physical
        manifestation of the Divine, there can be nothing in the universe which
        does not partake of the nature of the Divine; hence, the powers and
        attributes of the Divine exist also in the manifest, though to much
        smaller degree.
     b) These powers can be awakened through the various techniques of the
        Mysteries, and, although they are only capable of small effects in and
        of themselves, it is possible to use them in order to draw upon the
        forces of the universe. Thus humanity can be the wielders of the power
        of the Gods, a channel for Godhead to act within It’s own
        manifestation.  This, then, is further reason for the oath of secrecy.
     c) Since the universe is the body of the One, possessing the same
        attributes as the One, it’s Laws must be the principles through and by
        which the One operates.  By reasoning from the known to the unknown,
        one can learn of the Divine, and thus of oneself. Thus the Craft is a
        natural religion, seeing in Nature the expression and revelation of
        Divinity.

5.   We know that everything in the universe is in movement or vibration and is
     a function of that vibration.  Everything vibrates; all things rise and
     fall in a tidal system that reflects the motion inherent in the universe
     and also in the atom.  Matter and energy are but two poles of one
     continuous phenomenon.  Therefore the Witch celebrates, harmonizes with,
     and makes use of the tides of the universe and of life as expressed
     through the cycle of the seasons and the motion of the solar system.
     These ritual observances are the eight great Festivals of the Year,
     referred to as the Wheel of the Year.  Further, the Witch works with the
     forces and tides of the Moon, for this body is the mediator of much energy
     to our planet Earth and thus to ourselves.

6.   Nothing is dead matter in the universe.  All things exist, therefore all
     things live, though perhaps in a different manner from that which we are
     used to calling life.  In view of this, the Witch knows that there is no
     true death, only change from one condition to another.  The universe is
     the body of Godhead, and therefore possesses one transcendant
     consciousness; all things partake of the consciousness, in varying levels
     of trance/awareness.
     a) Because of this principle, all things are sacred to the Witch, for all
        partake of the one Life.
     b) Therefore the Witch is a natural ecologist, for Nature is part of us as
        we are a part of Nature.

7.   Astrology can be useful in marking and interpreting the flow and ebb of
     the tides of our solar system, and thus of making use of those tides;
     astrology should not be debased into mere fortune-telling.

8.   Throughout the development of the human race, civilizations have seen and
     worshipped many and various attributes of the Divine.  These universal
     forces have been clothed in forms which were expressive to the worshipper
     of the attribute of the Godhead which they expressed.  Use of these
     symbolic representations of the natural and divine forces of the universe,
     or godforms, is a potent method for contacting and utilizing the forces
     they represent.  Thus the Gods are both natural and truely divine, and
     man-made in that the forms with which they are clothed are products of
     humanity’s striving to know the Godhead.
     a) In keeping with the Law of Polarity, these god-forms are brought into
        harmony by the one great Law which states: All Gods are one God.  All
        Goddesses are one Goddess.  There is one Initiator.  This law is an
        expression of our understanding that all of the forces of the universe,
        by whatever ethnic god-form is chosen to clothe and relate to whichever
        force, can be resolved into the fundamental polarity of the Godhead,
        the Great Mother and the All-Father.
     b) It is the use of differing godforms, of differing ethnic sources or
        periods, which is the basis of many of the differences between the
        various Traditions of the Craft.  Each Tradition uses the forms, and
        thus the names, which to that Tradition best express and awaken an
        understanding of the force represented, according to the areas of
        emphasis of the Tradition.
     c) Because we know that differing names or representations are but
        expressions of the same divine principles and forces, we require our
        members to swear that they will never mock the names by which another
        honors the Divine, even though those names be different from and
        seemingly less expressive than the names and godforms used by our
        Tradition (for to the members of another Tradition, using it’s names,
        ours may easily seem equally less expressive).

9.   A Witch refuses to allow her/himself to be corrupted by the great guilt
     neuroses which have been foisted on humanity in the name of the Divine,
     thus freeing the self of the slavery of the mind.  The Witch expresses
     responsibility for her/his actions, and accepts the consequences of them;
     guilt is rejected as inhibiting to one’s self-actualization, and replaced
     by the efforts of the Witch to obey the teachings of harmlessness,
     responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, and the goal of
     actualizing the full powers of the individual.
     a) We refuse to believe that a human being is born innately sinful, and
        recognize the the concepts of sin and guilt are tremendously inhibiting
        to the human potential; the consequences of the Law of Cause and
        Effect, called karma by some, are not punishment, but the recurrences
        of situations and their effects because the individual as not gained
        the Wisdom needed to handle or avoid such situations.
     b) There is no heaven except that which we ourselves make of our life on
        Earth, and likewise there is no hell except the effects of our unwise
        actions.  Death is not followed by punishment or reward, but by life
        and the continuing evolution of the human potential.
     c) One cannot damn the divine in oneself; one can, however, cut oneself
        off from it through the rejection of wisdom and a refusal to strive for
        self-realization. This cutting off does not lead to personal suffering
        in “hell”, for there is no Self to suffer if the tie to one’s own
        divinity has been severed; what remains is merely an empty shell, a
        “personality” or thought-form devoid of it’s ensouling Spark of the
        Divine Fire.

10.  We know of the existence of the life-force which ensouls all living
     things, that is, all that exists.  We know that a spark of this Divine
     Fire is within each and every thing that exists, and that it does not
     die; only the form of it’s existence changes.  We know that this spark of
     the life-force returns to manifestation again and again in order to fully
     realize and actualize it’s potential, evolving finally to the peak and
     essence of existence which is pure be-ing.  In this process of
     reincarnation each form returns in the same type of form, though it’s
     ever-increasing actualization may lead to higher levels of existence of
     that form.  Man returns as man, cat as feline, mineral as mineral, each
     class of form evolving as the individual forms of that class evolve.

11.  This process of evolution through successive incarnations in manifest form
     works through the utilizations of wisdom gained, the essence of the
     life-experience.  This essence of experience, or Wisdom, is an attribute
     of the spark of life itself, one and inseparable (see 9a).

12.  We must care for the body, for it is the vehicle of the spark of life, the
     form by which we attain. Thus we must heal the body of it’s ills and keep
     it a tuned and perfected tool; so must we heal others (both physicaly and
     psychologically) as far as it is within our power to do so.  However, we
     cannot interfere with the life of another, even to heal, except at their
     request or with their express permission; unless such non-interference
     would be inhibiting to our own, ethical existence and development — and
     even then the responsibilities and consequences must be understood and
     accepted.  This, then, is one of the important reasons for the communal
     life the Witches under the guidance of the Priesthood: That the group may
     be guided by wisdom and experience, with the aid and support of one’s
     peers; and that one’s actions may be guided by the influence of the
     ethical life of the group as a whole.

13.  Harmony with, and utilization of, the great natural forces of the universe
     is called magick. By magick we speak, not of the supernatural, but of the
     superbly natural, but whose laws and applications are not as yet
     recognized by the scientific establishment.  The Witch must strive to
     recognize these forces, learn their laws, attune her/himself to them, and
     make use of them.  The Witch must also be aware that power corrupts when
     used _only_ for the gains of the self, and therefore must strive to serve
     humanity: Either through the service in the Priesthood, or by example and
     effects of his/her life on others. The choice must be made in accord with
     the true nature of the Witch.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Beliefs of the Witch | Leave a comment