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MidnightLetter
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:09 am
We are sure that many of you have noticed, that we tend to get a little cranky when people use the word Wicca to describe anything other than Traditional Wicca. One of the main focuses of this guild is education, and part of educating, is mentioning that there is a specific meaning to the word. Most of the time, all we are really looking for, is an acknowledgment that Wicca has that specific meaning. We can't stop anyone from calling themselves whatever they want to, but we can (and will) let them know, that it really isn't right to claim something that hasn't been earned. Obviously, it's going to be up to each individual what they want to do with that information. But if we never mention it, then how will anyone know?

As stated on the guild's homepage...

Quote:
Traditional Wicca is a specific pagan religion, one that has specific core beliefs and practices. It is an orthopraxic, mystery religion, that is oath bound and requires coven initiation (usually man to woman, woman to man). It has specific deities (in this case the Lord and Lady of the Isles) and is fertility centered - not earth/nature centered.


So again, while we cannot force anyone to change what they call themselves, within this Guild we do ask that you please do not claim to be Wiccan (Trad or otherwise) unless you are prepared to back up that claim with lineage and tradition info, or are (at the very least) willing to discuss those claims with other members in the guild.

Some of you may be wondering why we make such a big deal about this. When one is initiated into Wicca, one takes an oath to "defend" the religion - this includes clearing up any misconceptions (as much as is possible without going into oath-bound material). Obviously not all of us are Wiccan, but as some of us are seriously seeking this path, we feel obligated to at least put forth a similar effort. Not to mention the fact that some of us are pretty picky when it comes to historical accuracy and facts - "responsible paganism" FTW!!!

Something though that needs to be understood, this is not an attack on anyone's personal beliefs, which seems to be the first assumption that people make. We understand (especially since many of us have been in exactly the same place) that there is a lot of misinformation about "what Wicca is" that is widely available to the public. The sad reality is that "Wicca" makes $$$, and many publishers (like Llewellyn) have no problem slapping the word on anything they can, if they think it will make it sell better. We may not always like the answers that we get, but if we don't discuss these things, we will never grow. There is more out there than just Wicca. However because "Wicca" is such buzz word, people usually think they have to make "Wicca" fit them, when the fact is there is already something else out there that is a better fit. Don't know about you... but we'd much rather find something else that is "ready made" than go about trying to create a path from scratch.

This thread will be left open for any questions, and for any debate/discussions that will arise. If at all possible we'd like to contain all major debates on the subject to this thread. So if you ask something similar in another thread, we may redirect and answer it here, rather than risk taking over someone else's thread debating it.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:09 am
Author: Morgandria (1* Gardnerian)

Wicca is:

an Orthopraxic, Oathbound, Initiatory, Mystery-based, Experiential, Coven-based, Fertility-focused, Dithesitic Witch-cult whose members are all Clergy within a Lineaged Tradition.

A mouthful, if there every was one! Let's break it down farther into individual components.

Orthopraxic:
There are two kinds of religion.

One is orthodoxic - meaning 'correct belief'. If you believe the right things, you qualify as a member of that faith.

The second is orthopraxic - literally, this is 'right practice'. If you know the right way to do things within that faith, and you do them, you're a member of that faith.

Wicca is Orthopraxic. What allows a person to qualify as Wiccan is knowing the correct practices: how to use the tools, hw to properly cast and consecrate a circle, how to invoke Deity, etc. If you change any of this orthopraxy far enough from its' core, then it ceases to be Wicca.

Only initiated Wiccans will know this proper practice, because....

Oathbound:
...Wicca is oathbound.

What this means is every person who has become a Wiccan, in the proper way, has sworn an oath never to reveal the orthopraxy of Wicca unless that other person is 'a proper person, properly prepared.' This means, in essence, that a coven will only teach the orthopraxy to those who have been 'properly prepared', ie. have become an initiate, and have sworn the very same oath.

This oath is fearsome. It is not undertaken lightly, and those who break it are cast out and reviled, for good reason. Because of this, even people who choose to leave Wicca, are still expected to uphold this oath.

The oath also means you may not publish Wiccan practices in books, or other media, where it would be viewed by non-initiates.
No book at the bookstore, no website online, has ever had a single scrap of actual Wiccan material.

What you generally see are generic pagan teachings, with a vague Wiccan flavour - we call it 'outer court'. Outer-court teachings vary from coven to coven, but they're the basic info taught to a Seeker as a foundation to learn Wicca on after initiation. It isn't and shouldn't be considered Wicca in and of itself - but it is still useful.

Why do people publish things in the name of Wicca, when it isn't? Simple: money. People want Wicca, so they give them what they want. 9 times out of 10 those people are in no position to realize they've been misinformed or misled.

Initiation, Mystery-based, and Experiential:
We'll tackle these three together.

Initiation is VERY important in Wicca. Without this event - without experiencing this ritual - you'll never fully understand Wicca, even if you were to somehow gain access to Wiccan material without being an initiate. Without initiation, you have no access to the Mysteries.

Mystery-based paths have existed for thousands of years. A Mystery is just an experience that changes your perception and understanding of events and objects and energies - and there are plenty out there that are easily available to everyone. A Mystery is always the same event: what varies is how an individual experiences them. Even experiencing a sunset will be a different Mystery every time, depending on environmental conditions, season, location, and the person themselves.

Some Mysteries, however, are shaped and built around specific events, to build a consistent framework for the experience - historically, the Eleunesian Mysteries come to mind. The Wiccan Mysteries are the same way. The ritual, done properly, by people qualified to perform it, builds this framework. Each initiate will have a slightly different experience - but the Mysteries themselves are the same, inside that framework. Obviously, if you change the framework, you will access Mysteries, but they will not be the Wiccan Mysteries.

Without experiencing the Wiccan Mysteries properly, you will always lack the proper context to understand the orthopraxy of Wicca. It's why you can't be a Wiccan alone, you can't teach yourself, and you can't learn it from a book or online. Without that initiatory experience of the proper Mysteries, you're lacking a key that will allow you to unlock the meaning and understanding of the rituals practiced by Wiccans.

Initiation is always practiced cross-gender. A woman is initiated by a man, and a man by a woman. If you run across someone who says they were initiated by someone of the same sex as them, it was not a valid Wiccan initiation.

Coven-based:
One can't be a Wiccan alone. Aside from the fact that one can't self-initiate...

The rites of Wicca, recorded in the Book of Shadows each coven keeps a hand-copied version of, basically define what Wicca is. These rites were never meant to be practiced alone. They're based on having a full coven of initiates to perform properly.

Solitary Wiccans really don't exist. You can have initiated Wiccans who are unable to practice with their covens: they moved, they're away, they got sick, etc. But what they do on their own is neo-pagan witchcraft, heavily flavoured by Wicca, performed by a Wiccan - it's not proper Wiccan practice.

And finding an actual, lineaged coven (we'll talk about lineage later) can be a lot of work - travel, time, money, energy. And those sacrifices to attend a group are expected. It's considered normal. People who complain about not finding a coven in their area so they can learn properly, are typically looked at with some disdain, especially by those Wiccans who travel considerable lengths to their own covens.

Fertility-focused:

Wicca is a fertility cult. It's not a Nature cult, or an 'earth-based' path. We don't worship Nature. We honour fertility! Fertility is one specific aspect of Nature; so while we may see and appreciate fertility reflected in the cycles of Nature.

And naturally, fertility means sex. It's very difficult to have one without the other. Wicca does contain sexual context, and activity, within its' rites. Many people assume that means actual intercourse, but there are many levels of sexual activity - and indeed, a non-Wiccan would probably miss some of the sexual nature that Wiccan ritual contains (even in an outer-court situation), because it can be incredibly subtle, or easily overlooked if you're lacking the contextual knowledge initiates have.

Wicca is not a good faith for anyone who has issues being openly sexual with other people. Wicca's sexual basis is also why Wicca does not initiate minors - and in fact refuses to even start teaching the basics to a person until they are 18. This is not open to interpretation or debate: it is a part of the laws of the Wica, which are known as the Ardanes.

Ditheistic:

Wiccans believe in a pair of deities, a God and a Goddess. Wicca is, contrary to many depictions, a hard polytheistic religion. Wiccans believe that their gods are distinct and individual - not facets or aspects of an overarching, singular God or Goddess. Their actual names are oathbound. They are not archetypes, though - they are a specific God and Goddess. The terms 'Lord' and 'Lady' are simply honorifics - used to refer to the Gods of the Wica around non-initiates without breaking ones' oaths, not to indicate that they are soft-polytheistic in Nature.

The Wiccan gods do not mind if a Wiccan has existing relationships with deities from pantheons outside the faith. But one cannot use whatever pantheon they like in the place of the Lord and Lady - it alters the orthopraxy too much. So things like "Celtic Wicca", or "Norse Wicca", or "Egyptian Wicca"...just aren't Wicca at all.

Witch-cult:

All Wiccans are also witches. Nothing too scary in that. 'Cult' simply means religion, in this instance.

Clergy:

All Wiccans are initiated priesthood of the Lord and Lady. There is no exception to this. Once you are an initiate, you are their priest or priestess. It is a HUGE, life-long commitment, and an event that completely changes you. Becoming an initiate doesn't make you part of the 'cool kids', or some sort of clique. It's not a mark of status, or some kind of diploma - being a Wiccan initiate is a full-time job. It turns your life upside for a while. It creates a lot of extra work and responsibilities for you - The Gods will have their own needs, but so will the people around you. You get those late night calls from coveners whose lives are coming apart and need advise, or help, or a listening ear. You're there when someone dies, and people need help. You're there to teach new Seekers, and guide them into the path.

Frankly, a teenager isn't ready for this level of commitment or change. Frequently folks in their twenties aren't either. You need to have a stable life, under your own authority, and being responsible for your own self. This is on all levels - mental, physical, and emotional. The changes initiation brings will rock the foundation of a person's life - and if that life is already in change, or flux, then it's disastrous.

Finally...

Lineaged Tradition:

Wicca was founded by a man by the name of Gerald Gardner, somewhere between the late 1930's and the mid 1940's. Gardner was an initiate of a coven in an older, extant witch-cult - the New Forest Coven. He wished to preserve aspects of this witch-cult, and mixed in parts and practices from other faiths as he saw fit. and created what we call Wicca. Gardner himself was the first to use the word 'Wicca', although there are similar words from older languages.

Thus was born the Gardnerian Tradition of Wicca - the very first tradition of Wicca, and one that is still going strong today.

Other traditions were born out of this first one, each defined by its' own particular quirks or flavour, and yet also defined by the fact that they retained the orthopraxy of the Wiccan faith in their practice, and that their initiatory lineage links them back to Gardner.

That being said, there aren't as many traditions in existence as there claims to be. Legitimate forms of Wicca are: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Mohsian, Central Valley, Silver Crescent, Kingstone, Daoine Coire, Assembly of Wicca, and Majestic. Some Blue Star and Georgian covens may have lineage as well, but it depends on the priesthood and elders of each individual lines of initiates. This group of traditions is collectively known as British Traditional Wicca, and they are the only legitimately Wiccan traditions. Traditions outside this grouping may not maintain the full orthopraxy of Wicca.

Initiatory Lineage is very important. It is how Wiccans are able to determine if someone is legitimately a Wiccan, or not. Remember back when I was talking about cross-gendered initiation (man to woman, woman to man)? If a person was initiated by the same sex, or they cannot trace their lineage to Gardner-

Example: Lord Y was initiated by Lady X. Lady X was initated by Lord V. Lord V was initiated by Lady T. Lady T was initiated by Gerald Gardner

- then a person cannot legitimately claim to be Wiccan, and any person they initiate likewise cannot claim to be Wiccan. It's really that simple. It's not a blood lineage, either - you do not have to be related to Gardner by blood, and the idea of families passing on Wiccan initiation amongst its' members violates the Ardanes, the laws of Wicca.

Some people complain, as I mentioned before, that it's difficult to find lineaged groups - that they have no choice but to learn from books or online or people who aren't initiates. It's true. It can be a real search - for the simple reason that Wicca is not for everyone. It isn't interested in numbers, or reaching everyone; there are built-in quality controls.

Wicca's membership are specifically called by the Gods of Wicca to be priesthood - a role not every person interested in Wicca is qualified for. Those who are legitimately called end up finding a coven and becoming initiates, no matter the cost or effort. There are plenty of other paths available under the pagan umbrella that will better suit the people who don't. Unfortuntely Wicca is popular, and better known than other pagan religions, and people become fixated on it and nothing else...which leads to many of the problems I've already mentioned.

-------------------------------------------------------------------  

MidnightLetter
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MidnightLetter
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:14 am
What Gardner Said


Author: Scorplett (3* Alexandrian HPS)

Sources are all public domain and are:

Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today. Lakemont, GA: Magickal Childe, 1954; 1988 edition.

Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft. Lakemont, GA US: Copple House Books, 1959; 1988 edition.

Bracelin, J. L. Gerald Gardner: Witch, Great Britain, Octagon Press, 1960

I would include comments by academic Authors, but I don't have notes to hand at the moment to do that.

Page numbers provided are appropriate to the editions noted above. The quoted passages support the basic requirements and definitions of what Wicca is as used on these fora.

This is a collection of things Gardner said:

Quote:
"Gerald Gardner, Witchcraft Today - pages 28-29 "

Being initiated into the witch cult does not give a witch supernatural powers but instructions are given, in rather veiled terms, in processes which develop various clairvoyant and other powers, in those who naturally possess them slightly. If they have none they can create none. Some of these powers are akin to magnetism, mesmerism and suggestion, and depend o the possibility of forming a sort of human battery, as it were, of combined human wills working together to influence persons or events at a distance.

They have instructions in how to learn to do this by practice.edit: bold text to highlight orthopraxy It would take many people a long time, if I understand the directions aright. If these arts were more generally practised nowadays, we should call most of them spiritualism, mesmerism, suggestion, E.S.P., Yoga or perhaps Christian Science; to a witch it is all MAGIC, and magic is the art of getting results. To do this certain processes are necessary and the rites are such that these processes may be used.edit: bold text to highlight orthoprxy In other words, they condition you. This is the secret of the cult.


This passage highlights that the practices of Wicca are orthopraxic and that this orthopraxy is taught after initiation.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 126"

Gomme, in Folklore as a Historical Science (p. 201 et seq), stresses the importance of the act of initiation as applied to the witch cult. "It emphasizes the existence of a cast apart from the general populace. The existence of this caste long before, where they did practise their powers, carrying back this act of initiation age after age. It is clear that the people who were from time to time introduced into the witch caste carried on the practices and assumed the functions of the caste even though they came into it as novices and strangers. We thus arrive at what might be termed as an artificial means of descent into a peculiar group of superstitions.
This was influenced in the Middle Ages by beliefs of the carrying on of traditional practices by certain families and groups of people who could only acquire such practices by initiation and family teaching."
This is, of course, exactly what happened. It is a family group, if you like; but not all of the family belongs to it, only those who are initiated,


This passage points to the importance of initiation. Without initiation you are not Wiccan, even if you are by blood part of a family who's members happen to be Wiccan. It is not membership of a family or group that it important, but initiation into the particular caste or sect, that caste or sect being Wicca as opposed to any other witchcult.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - page 69 "

The witches tell me: "The law has always been that power must be passed from man to woman or from woman to man,[...]"


Initiation must flow from Man to Woman to Man. This creates a clear initiatory lineage.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - page 42"

Before an initiation a charge is read beginning:

[...]

I am forbidden to give any more; but if you accept her rule you are promised various benefits and admitted into the circle, introduced to the Mighty Dead and to the cult members. There is also a small "frightening", an "ordeal" and an "oath"; you are shown certain things and receive some instruction. It is all very simple and direct


This is a brief description of some of the elements of an initiation ceremony. The stand out aspect of this passage is that of oath. That an oath is taken at initiation which forbids Wiccan's from revealing the content of the rituals.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 118"

I think the only answer is that the Church practised this kind of magic itself, and it knew that witchcraft practised a different form of magic because it was a separate religion, and that it involved the carrying on of a tradition of practices by certain families and groups of people who could only obtain knowledge of these practices by secret initiations

This highlights that teachings are passed via initiation into the religion of Wicca

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 120"

Being forced to write their names, I take simply to mean that they were told, "If you want to come again, you must be one of us, that is, be initiated, initiation is a requirement for membership and then you will be a fairy". Now in France, as in Scotland, a large number of people spoke of 'fairies" when they obviously meant witches. It was a more polite term, and in Scotland any communication with "fairies" was taken as an admission of dealing with witches, that is, with the "heathen", the People of the Heaths, who practised the Old Religion and worked magical rites.

Highlighting that initiation is nescessary.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - page 24"

If I were permitted to disclose all their rituals, I think it would be easy to prove that witches are not diabolists; but the oaths are solemn and the witches are my friends. I would not hurt their feelings. They have secrets which to them are sacred. They have good reason for this secrecy.


This highlights that Wiccans are oathbound to keep secret their practices.

Quote:
"Bracelin, J. L. Gerald Gardner: Witch - page 199, in quoting Gardner"
"The witches worship the old gods of the land of Britain, whose tradition is rooted deep in British soil. The old gods are not dead, as I know by experience."


This highlights that Wiccan's worship specific God's of the British Isles. They are not any God and Goddess a person chooses.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 260"

That which has influenced the Group-soul of this country once can do so again. I have already told of the belief of the Wica in the Ancient Gods of these islands. This not mere superstition or a figure of speech. Initiates will understand me when I say that the Gods are real


This points again to the fact that the God's of Wicca are specific God's and not pick 'n' mix any-God-you-like and any-Goddess-you-like. It also points to the fact that what God and Goddess they are is only known by initiates.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 260-261"

Nor is the worshippers' belief in vain; for though they may themselves have built the Magical Image, the Power which ensouls it is real and objective, if the building has been done in the right way.


This excerpt points to the orthopraxic nature of Wicca. It must be done the right way!

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 260-261"

Of course, the Craft of the Wica is not the only group which seeks to contact the Gods. There are other occult groups which use a similar technique, and their aims are the same, namely to bring through the Divine power to help, guide and uplift mankind at this dangerous and exciting turning-point in human history.
But, so far as I know, these groups generally work with the Egyptian and Greek Gods and Goddesses, and I cannot think that these contacts are as powerful here as they would be upon their native soil; whereas the divinities of the Craft of the Wica are the Ancient Ones of Britain, part of the land itself.


This extract points again to the fact that the Gods of Wicca are specific God's of the British Isles. It also points that there are other groups who practice what might be similar rites with similar aims, but they are not Wiccan.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 165-166"

I must not, however give the impression that the people of Ancient Britain worshipped only one God and only one Goddess, who were exactly the same in all parts of the country. In early early times the country was split up into many different tribes, which, of course, lived in localities differing from each other as to the type of country the were.
For instance, the sea-faring people would conceive their God as a God of the Sea; those who depended upon agriculture would pay most reverence to that aspect of Divinity which manifested as the green and growing things of Nature returning each year, or the fertility of cattle; and the hunters would have a Hunting God. Also, these tribes had different dialects, and even different languages, and so the names of the gods would vary from one part of the country to another. Nor are the Great Ancient Ones mere concepts lingering in the leaves of old books and the minds of old scholars. The people remember, nay the very land itself remembers.


This excerpt points to the fact that Wicca allows for recognition of many God's and Goddesses. However, while Wiccan practice itself is Ditheistic, it allows for polytheistic understanding of Deity, as either hard or soft Polytheism.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Todayt - page 32"

My witches speak of him [the tribal god] as god of "Death and what lies beyond": by this they not only mean the life in the next world but resurrection (or reincarnation). He rules a sort of happy hunting ground, where ordinary folk go and foregather with like-minded people; it may be pleasant or unpleasant according to your nature.

According to your merits you may be reincarnated in time, and take your chance where and among whom this takes place; but the god has a special paradise for his worshippers, who have conditioned their bodies and natures on earth, who enjoy special advantages and are prepared more swiftly for reincarnation which is done by the power of the goddess in such circumstances as to insure that you will be born into your own tribe again. This is taken nowadays to mean into witch circles. It would seem to involve an unending series of reincarnations; but I am told that in time you may become one of the mighty ones, who are also called the mighty dead. I can learn nothing about them, but they seem to be like demigods -- or one might call them saints.


This paragraph points to one of the few 'beliefs' of Wicca. That of both an afterlife and reincarnation.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - pages 26-27"

They think that the God and the Goddess assist them in making their magic, as they assist the God and the Goddess in their turn by raising power from them by their dances and by other methods. In fact, they seem to consider the gods as being more like powerful friends than deities to be worshipped. To them the concept of an All-powerful God, one who could simply say, "Let there be peace. Let there be no sickness or misery", and all wars, sickness and misery would cease, and who for his own reasons will not say that word, and keeps men in fear and misery and want, is not fit to receive worship.
They quite realise that there must be some great "Prime Mover", some Supreme Deity; but they think that if It gives them no means of knowing It, it is because It does not want to be known; also possibly, at our present stage of evolution we are incapable of understanding It. So It has appointed what might be called various Under-Gods, who manifest as the tribal gods of different peoples; as the Elohim of the Jews, Isis, Osiris and Horus of the Egyptians, and the Horned God and the Goddess of the witches. They can see no reason why each people should not worship their national gods, or why anyone should strive to prevent them from doing so.


This points to the idea that the God's of Wicca are not all powerful, infallible nor omnipotent. That the God's are imminent and Wiccan's build a deep personal relationship with their God's.
There is also the possibility that there is some greater power than the Gods but because that being doesn't have the same means of making itself known it is beyond worship. This excerpt also points to another interesting fact, if compatible, a Wiccan may work within other systems of worship.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - pages 139-140"

Our gods are not all-powerful, they need our aid. They desire good to us, fertility for man, beast and crops, but they need our help to bring it about; and by our dances and other means they get that help.
"When we die we go to the god's domain, where having rested a while in their lovely country we are prepared to be born again on this earth; and if we perform the rites correctly, edit: bold text to highlight orthopraxy by the grace of the Great Mother we will be reborn among those we loved, and will remember, know and love them again, while those who do evil will have a stern schooling in the god's domain before they are fit to be reborn again, and then it will be among strangers.


Again we're back to the orthopraxy. The rites MUST be done correctly.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - page 140"

"We worship the divine spirit of Creation, which is the Life-Spring of the world and without which the world would perish. To us it is the most sacred and holy mystery, proof that God is within us whose command is: 'Go forth and multiply.' Such rites are done in a holy and reverent way."


Wicca is a fertility religion because the God's are fertility Gods. Being a fertility religion and to the request of the Gods, sexual expression of fertility is part and parcel of Wiccan practice.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 16"

Witch meetings today may take place anywhere that it is convenient, and only people who have been initiated into the cult are allowed to be present.


INITIATION IS A MUST
There it is, straight from the horses mouth. No beating around the bush. No Initiation, no membersip without initiation.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - page 24"

For one reason or another they keep the names of their god and goddess secret. To them the cult has existed unchanged


Here we are again with the idea that vital aspects of Wicca are oathbound. In this case the names of the God and Goddess. This excerpt also points to the importance of the practice not changing EVER!

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today - page 116"

They have no regular system of passwords, that I could discover, to recognize each other by. But at initiations there were certain words required to pass you into the circle, and there are certain catchphrases that could be used as such; of course a knowledge of the mysteries would prove that you were initiated. Actually, they all know each other, or are introduced, so they do not need passwords.


There are a number of pertinent things in this passage. First is another reiteration that secret/oathound information is passed at initiation. The other very importatnt thing here is that Wicca is a Mystery Religion. Through experiencing the mysteries, via performance of orthopraxic rites, Wiccan's develop a common language with each other that help to indicate that the person is an initiate of a given rank. The passage also points out that Wiccan's know each other through introduction, in the Global community today, this is called 'Vouching'. In order for a stranger to prove they are Wiccan they may be asked pertinent things, their Lineage, a vouch confirming that and also questions about praxis.

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - pages 21-22"

"Now, while the ancient authors who were initiated into a number of the mysteries agree that they were all the same basically, and there is a certain amount of agreement among modern authors about what their secrets were, I doubt very much if any of them realises the reason behind them, "what made them work," in fact; and what makes things work is the witches' secret. I think that this was probably the practical secret of the ancient Mysteries also.


Again with the orthopraxy!

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 42"

Witches have a firmly-rooted belief in their own powers, and the danger of these being misused if uninitiated people learn their methods.


The uninitiated shall not know!

Quote:
"Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft - page 228"

The worship of the witch cult is, and always has been, that of the principle of Life itself. It has made of that principle, as manifested in sex, something sacred... There is still, in the collective unconsciousness of men's minds, a realisation of the rightness of the Old Sacred Marriage.


Wicca is a fertility cult that practices sex rites and rites of a sexual nature.  
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:27 am
Using Ritual Phrases Out Of Context? Please Don't!!!


Morgandria Wrote:
So, for the record:

Some people like to use phrases like 'Blessed Be', 'So Mote it Be', 'Merry Meet', and 'Merry Part', when talking to other pagans online. However, don't be surprised if someone asks you not to, or might possibly be offended by your doing so.

These phrases are ritual language. That is to say, they are phrases used within the structure of Wiccan ritual for very specific purposes, and outside of that context they may be meaningless, or incorrectly applied. Some Wiccans feel that using them out of context cheapens or degrades their sacredness. Others may not feel as strongly.

'Blessed Be' is a very specific blessing. It's not a greeting or a parting, and by using it as such you're showing you don't know what it means, or that you don't value its' importance to Wiccans.

Also, amongst initiated Wiccans, there is very much a feeling that people who pepper their speech or writing with these phrases are trying hard -too hard, really- to fit into a subculture they feel insecure about. We all know people who overuse the jargon for certain groups or interests in order to look experienced or knowledgeable...but quite often it's too much the other way, and you end up looking like a noob. My own experience as a Wiccan has been so.

There's nothing wrong with just talking to other pagans, or specifically Wiccans, like you would anyone else. "Hi" and "TTYL" work just fine, and they're not going to upset anyone or make you look over-enthusiastic.

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It's ok to not know these sorts of things. Valid, factual information about Wicca, and especially Wiccan practice, can be very thin on the ground for non-initiates. But once you do know the
facts, there's no reason not to act on them.

If you're asked politely to stop using these ritual phrases out of context, please do so out of courtesy. It's greatly appreciated.
 

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:33 am
Relevant Links and Resources


Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner

The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner

Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton (the section on Gerald Gardner starts on page 205)

Her Hidden Children by Chas Clifton

History of Wicca in England: 1939 to the Present Day

Traditional and Innovative Trends in Witchcraft

It\'s A Mystery: Dysfunctional Behavior & The Pagan Scene

The Pagan Secret  
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:34 am
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:36 am
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:44 am
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:55 am
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:58 am
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:59 am
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