DruidsAlthough since Christian times Druids have been identified as wizards
and soothsayers, in pre-Christian Celtic society they formed an intellectual class comprising philosophers, judges, educators,
historians, doctors, seers, astronomers, and astrologers. The earliest surviving Classical references to Druids date to the
2nd century B.C.E.
The word Druidae is of Celtic origin. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus, 23/24-79 C.E.) believed
it to be a cognate with the Greek work drus, meaning "an oak." Dru-wid combines the word roots "oak" and "knowledge"
(wid means "to know" or "to see" - as in the Sanskrit vid). The oak (together with the rowan and hazel) was
an important sacred tree to the Druids. In the Celtic social system, Druid was a title given to learned men and women possessing
"oak knowledge" (or "oak wisdom").
Some scholars have argued that Druids originally belonged to a pre-Celtic ('non-Aryan') population in Britain and Ireland
(from where they spread to Gaul), noting that there is no trace of Druidism among Celts elsewhere - in Cisalpine Italy, Spain,
or Galatia (modern Turkey). Others, however, believe that Druids were an indigenous Celtic intelligentsia to be found among
all Celtic peoples, but were known by other names.
With the revival of interest in the Druids in later times, the question of what they looked like has been largely a matter
of imagination. Early representations tended to show them dressed in vaguely classical garb. Aylett Sammes, in his Britannia
Antiqua Illustrata (1676), shows a Druid barefoot dressed in a knee-length tunic and a hooded cloak. He holds a staff
in one hand and in the other a book and a sprig of mistletoe. A bag or scrip hangs from his belt.
A fanciful image of a DruidSammes's drawing was subsequently copied and modified by William Stukeley who shortened his beard, removed the mistletoe, turned the bag at his side into a sort of bottle or gourd, and placed an
axe-head in his belt.
(Plate from Aylett Sammes, Britannia Antiqua Illustrata,
Another fanciful image of a DruidBesides observing that the name 'Druid' is derived from "oak", it was Pliny the Elder,
in his Naturalis Historia (XVI, 95), who associates the Druids with mistletoe and oak groves: "The Druids...hold nothing
more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree on which it grows provided it is an oak. They choose the oak to form groves, and
they do not perform any religious rites without its foliage..." Pliny also describes how the Druids used a "gold pruning hook"
or "sickle" to gather the mistletoe.
(Plate from William Stukeley, Stonehenge, a Temple Restored
to the British Druids, 1740)
"Anything growing on those trees [oaks] they regard as sent from heaven and a sign that this tree has been chosen by the
gods themselves. Mistletoe is, however, very rarely found, and when found, it is gathered with great ceremony and especially
on the sixth day of the moon... They prepare a ritual sacrifice and feast under the tree, and lead up two white bulls whose
horns are bound for the first time on this occasion. A priest attired in a white vestment ascends the tree and with a golden
pruning hook cuts the mistletoe which is caught in a white cloth. Then next they sacrifice the victims praying that the gods
will make their gifts propitious to those to whom they have given it. They believe that if given in drink the mistletoe will
give fecundity to any barren animal, and that it is predominant against all poisons."
A nineteenth-century painting shows a Druidess holding both the sickle and a sprig of mistletoe. She is also standing next
to a megalithic structure.
A Druidess, holding mistletoe and a sickle, standing next to a dolmen
(painting by La Roche,
late nineteenth century)
Druids and Stone Circles
It was John Aubrey, writing in the 17th century, who first thought it a "probability" that stone circles, such as Stonehenge, "were Temples of the Druids" and called his text on stone circles the Templa Druidum. This idea was picked up by
William Stukeley, in the early 18th century, who subtitled his first book, Stonehenge, published in 1740, "a Temple Restored to the British
Druids, and his second, on Avebury, published in 1743, "a Temple of the British Druids." Although later, in the 19th century,
Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913) dated Stonehenge to a period much earlier than the time of the Druids (that is, to about 2000
B.C.E., whereas the Druids don't appear in the historical record until 1800 years later), nonetheless the view was maintained
by a minority that Druids were pre-Celtic inhabitants of Britain and that the religious beliefs and practices for which Stonehenge
was first built are ancestral to those of the later Celtic Druids.
A Druid, holding a sickle and mistletoe, stands in a grove of sacred oak trees with a Stonehenge-like
'temple' (18th century)
WICCA, WITCHCRAFT, PAGANISM & MAGICK
What Is Wicca
Contrary to what those who choose to persecute or lie about us wish to believe, Wicca
is a very peaceful, harmonious and balanced way of thinking and life which promotes oneness with the divine and all which
Wicca is a deep appreciation and awe in watching the sunrise or sunset, the forest in the light of a glowing
moon, a meadow enchanted by the first light of day. It is the morning dew on the petals of a beautiful flower,
the gentle caress of a warm summer breeze upon your skin, or the warmth of the summer sun on your face. Wicca
is the fall of colorful autumn leaves, and the softness of winter snow. It is light, and shadow and all that
lies in between. It is the song of the birds and other creatures of the wild. It is being in the
presence of Mother Earths nature and being humbled in reverence. When we are in the temple of the Lord and
Lady, we are not prone to the arrogance of human technology as they touch our souls. To be a Witch is to
be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things. If this path is yours, may you
walk it with honor, light and integrity.
Wicca is a belief system and way of life based upon the reconstruction of
pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. While much of the information of how
our ancestors lived, worshiped and believed has been lost due to the efforts of the medieval church to wipe our existence
from history, we try to reconstruct those beliefs to the best of our ability with the information that is available.
recent archaeological discoveries, we now have basis to believe that the origins of our belief system can be traced even further
back to the Paleolithic peoples who worshipped a Hunter God and a Fertility Goddess. With the discovery of
these cave paintings which have been dated to be around 30,000 years old depicting a man with the head of a stag, and a pregnant
woman standing in a circle with eleven other people, it can reasonably be assumed that Witchcraft is the oldest religion known
in the world toady. These archetypes are clearly recognized by Wiccan as our view of the Goddess and God
aspect of the supreme creative force and predate Christianity by roughly 28,000 years making it a mere toddler in the spectrum
of time as we know it. Sorry guy's, carbon dating is a little hard to dispute no matter how bad you want
Witchcraft in ancient history was known as "The Craft of the Wise" because those who followed the path were
healers, were in tune with the forces of nature, had a knowledge of Herbs and medicines, gave council and were valuable parts
of the village and community as Shamanic leaders. They understood that mankind is not superior to nature,
the earth and its creatures but instead we are simply one of the many parts, both seen and unseen that combine to make the
whole. As Chief Seattle said; "We do not own the earth, we are part of it." These wise people
understood that what we take or use, we must return in kind to maintain balance and equilibrium. Clearly,
modern man with all his applied learning and technology has forgotten this. Subsequently, we currently face
ecological disaster and eventual extinction because of our hunger for power and a few pieces of gold.
For the past
several hundred years, the image of the Witch has been mistakenly associated with evil, heathenism, and unrighteousness. In
my humble opinion, these misconceptions have their origin in a couple of different places.
To begin, the medieval
church of the 15th through 18th centuries created these myths to convert the followers of the old nature based religions to
the churches way of thinking. By making the Witch into a diabolical character and turning the old religious
deities into devils and demons, the missionaries were able to attach fear to these beliefs which aided in the conversion process.
Secondly, as medical science began to surface, the men who were engaged in these initial studies had a very
poor understanding of female physiology, especially in the area of a women's monthly cycles. The unknowns
in this area played very well with the early churches agenda lending credence to the Witch Hunters claims and authority. The
fledgling medical professions also stood to benefit greatly from this because it took the power of the women healers away
giving it to the male physicians transferring the respect and power to them.
Unfortunately these misinformed fears
and superstitions have carried forward through the centuries and remain to this day. This is why many who
follow these nature oriented beliefs have adopted the name of Wicca over its true name of Witchcraft to escape the persecution,
harassment and misinformation associated with the name of Witchcraft and Witch not to mention the bad publicity the press
and Hollywood has given us simply to generate a profit.
What Witchcraft is:
Witchcraft is a spiritual
system that fosters the free thought and will of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and
nature thereby affirming the divinity in all living things. Most importantly however, it teaches responsibility. We
accept responsibility for our actions and deeds as clearly a result of the choices we make. We do not blame
an exterior entity or being for our shortcomings, weaknesses or mistakes. If we mess up or do something that
brings harm to another, we have no one but ourselves to blame and we must face the consequences resulting from those actions. No
ifs, ands or buts and no whining...
We acknowledge the cycles of nature, the lunar phases and the seasons to celebrate
our spirituality and to worship the divine. It is a belief system that allows the Witch to work with, not
in supplication to deities with the intent of living in harmony and achieving balance with all things.
The spells that
we do involve healing, love, harmony, wisdom and creativity. The potions that we stir might be a headache
remedy, a cold tonic, or an herbal flea bath for our pets. We strive to gain knowledge of and use the natural
remedies placed on this earth by the divine for our benefit instead of using synthetic drugs unless absolutely necessary.
believe that the spirit of the One, Goddess and God exist in all things. In the trees, rain, flowers, the
sea, in each other and all of natures creatures. This means that we must treat "all things" of the Earth
as aspects of the divine. We attempt to honor and respect life in all its many manifestations both seen and
Wiccan learn from and revere the gift of nature from divine creation by celebrating the cycles of the sun,
moon and seasons. We search within ourselves for the cycles that correspond to those of the natural world
and try to live in harmony with the movement of this universal energy. Our teachers are the trees, rivers,
lakes, meadows, mountains and animals as well as others who have walked this path before us. This belief
creates a reverence and respect for the environment, and all life upon the Earth.
We also revere the spirits of the
elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water which combine to manifest all creation. From these four elements we
obtain insight to the rhythms of nature and understand they are also the rhythms of our own lives.
have been persecuted for so many centuries, we believe in religious freedom first! We do not look at our
path as the only way to achieve spirituality, but as one path among many to the same end. We are not a missionary
religion out to convert new members to think the same as we do. We are willing to share our experience and
knowledge with those who seek our wisdom and perspective however. We believe that anyone who is meant for
this path will find it through their own search as the Goddess speaks to each of us in her time and way. Wiccan
practice tolerance and acceptance toward all other religions as long as those faiths do not persecute others or violate the
tenant of "Harm None."
What Witchcraft is not:
More information about Witchcraft is available in the
Frequently Asked Questions section, but in the interim, here are the main points.
- Witchcraft or Wicca is not a cult. We do not proclaim ourselves to be spokespersons
for the divine or try to get others to follow us as their leaders.
- We do not worship Satan or consort with Demons. Satan is a Christian creation and
they can keep him. We do not need a paranoid creation of supreme evil and eternal damnation to scare us into
doing the right thing and helping others. We choose to do the right thing and love our brothers and sisters
because it IS the right thing and it feels good to do it. I suppose it is a maturity thing.
- We do not sacrifice animals or humans because that would violate our basic tenant of "Harm None." Anyone
who does and claims to be a Wiccan or a Witch is lying.
- We have no need to steal or control the life force of another to achieve mystical or supernatural
powers. We draw our energy from within, our personal relationship with the divine and nature.
- We do not use the forces of nature or the universe to hex or cast spells on others. Again,
"Harm None" is the whole of the law.
Witches have a very strict belief in the Law of Three which states that whatever we send out into
our world shall return to us three fold either good or bane. With this in mind, a "True Witch" would hesitate
in doing magick to harm or manipulate another because that boomerang we throw will eventually come back to us much larger
and harder then when we threw it.
Definitions of Wicca, Pagan & Witchcraft
This is not to say that Witches are perfect, we are human too just like everyone
else and make mistakes and errors in judgment. Just as there are parents who love and nurture their children,
there are parents who abuse their children. As there are many who devote their lives to giving and helping
mankind, likewise there are those who devote their lives to taking advantage of and using people for their own gain. Unfortunately
the same flaws in human nature applies to witches too.
Most of us continually strive to consider all potential outcomes
of our thoughts and actions pausing to seriously consider the consequences before undertaking a ritual, spell or rite that
could go astray. It is when we follow the path with the love of the Goddess in our hearts and adhere to the
basic tenant of the Reed that our works are beneficial and we achieve harmony and balance with all things.
of Wicca is not something summed up into a few short words and can often take on different meaning to each since the Lord
and Lady touch us in different ways. To gain a fuller understanding of the Craft, I urge you visit the other
pages on this site as well as following the links to a select group of exceptional Wiccan and Witchcraft sites. Through
the wisdom and words set down through the ages, you will find that you are able to understand the basis of our beliefs and
how they may apply to you. Your inner voice will also quickly let you know if the intent of what you are
reading is for superficial purposes to benefit self instead of working to benefit the whole. Remember to
read with your heart, for it is when you see life and the world with your heart and spirit that you truly gain an understanding
of what Wicca is.
Wicca: A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions
of reverence for nature. Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation
and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes.
with Wicca. In some circles, Wicce is used for women and Wicca is used for men.
Witch: A practitioner
of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. It is used by some Wiccans to
describe themselves. This term has nothing to do with Satanism.
Witchcraft: The craft of the
witch - magick, especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors,
and other natural objects. This belief system also has nothing to do with Satanism.
term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Also used to refer to
pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems.
A retired British civil servant named Gerald B. Gardner is the 'Grandfather', at the very least, of almost
all Neo-Wicca. He was initiated into a coven of Witches in the New Forest region of England in 1939 by a High Priestess named
'Old Dorothy' Clutterbuck. In 1949 he wrote a novel [*High Magic's Aid*] about medieval Witchcraft in which quite a bit of
the Craft as practiced by that coven was used. In 1951 the last of the English laws against Witchcraft were repealed (primarily
due to the pressure of Spiritualists) and Gardner published *Witchcraft Today*, which set forth a version of the rituals and
traditions of that coven. There is an enormous amount of disagreement about virtually every statement I have made in this
Gardnerism is both a tradition and a family, and lineage is a family tree. The High Priestess rules the coven,
and the principles of love and trust preside. We follow our handed down book more carefully than many others, but we are free
to add and improvise, as long as we preserve the original.
We work skyclad, practice binding and scourging, are hierarchal and secretive, therefore we are controversial.
We're also controversial because we were first - the first craft tradition in the U. S. and descended from the man largely
responsible for starting the craft revival. So, we're called the snobs of the Craft, but I think we're as much fun as anyone
else; our parties as good, our jokes as bad.
*Each Gardnerian coven is autonomous and is headed by a High Priestess who can turn to her queen (the High
Priestess who trained her) for counsel and advice. This maintains the lineage and creates a pool of experienced and knowledgeable
leaders and teachers.
*Reincarnation and the Wiccan Rede [An it harm none do what you will] are basic tenants of the tradition.
Covens are as much as possible composed of male/female pairs for balance. Most working is accomplished with the energy raised
by the interaction of the Lord and Lady as represented by the couples in the coven by dancing, chanting, etc.
*Like many Wiccan traditions, Gardnerians have three degrees. An American Gardnerian must be of the 3rd degree
before she can become a HPS. The HPS/HP are responsible for conducting services (circles), training their conveners, and preserving
and passing on Gardnerian Craft. *[This material quoted from Converging Paths Newsletter, Kyril, Brita, & Hugh authors.]
A lot of the controversy surrounding Gardnerianism questions the sources of the rituals and other materials,
particularly those appearing in print. It is true that Gardner presented these materials as if they were directly from his
New Forest tradition. It is clear, however, that whatever materials the coven may have had when he was initiated, Gerald made
a lot of changes and added a great deal. Literary sources of the published Book of Shadows include Blake, Kipling, Yeats and
Crowley. Much of the published material was written by Doreen Valiente, a member of the coven for a time and later founder
of her own groups and author of many excellent books on the Craft.
Gardnerian Witches without doubt do have many materials which have not appeared in print, however, their emphasis
on secrecy has made them a punch line in the Wiccan social world. How many Gardnerians does it take to change a light bulb?
That's a secret! Their High Priestess will usually be called 'Lady' Soandso and High Priest, 'Lord Whats-his-name'. [This
is far more true in the U. S. than it is in England.]
*As most everyone by now is aware, the Alexandrian Tradition is very close to Gardnerian with a few minor
changes. (One of the most obvious ones being that the Alexandrians use the athame as a symbol for the element of fire and
the wand as a symbol for air. Most of the rituals are very formal and heavily indebted to ceremonial magick. It is also a
polarized tradition and the sexuality of that female/male polarity is emphasized. The ritual cycle deals mostly with the division
of the year between the Holly King and the Oak King and several ritual dramas deal with the dying/resurrected God theme. As
with Gardnerians, the High Priestess is supposedly the highest authority. However, it is odd that the primary spokespersons
for both traditions have been men. [*This material provided by Gillan]
Alexandrian Wicca is the creation of Alex Sanders (with his then wife Maxine) who claimed to have been initiated
by his grandmother in 1933. It's principal proponents are Janet and Stewart Fararr whose books set forth most, if not all,
of the Alexandrian tradition. Contrary to popular belief, the name Alexandrian refers not to Alex Sanders, but to Ancient
Although similar to Gardnerian Wicca, Alexandrian Wicca tends to be more eclectic, and liberal. Some of Gardnerisms
strict rules, such as the requirement of ritual nudity, have been made optional by Alexandrian Wicca.
Mary Nesnick, an American initiate in Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions founded a 'new' tradition called
Algard. This tradition brings together both Gardnerian and Alexandrian teachings under a single banner. This was possible
due to the great similarities between the two traditions.
*The Dianic Craft includes two distinct branches:
*1. One branch, founded in Texas by Morgan McFarland and Mark Roberts, gives primacy to the Goddess in its
theology, but honors the Horned God as Her Beloved Consort. Covens are mixed, including both women and men. This branch is
sometimes called 'Old Dianic', and there are still covens of this tradition, especially in Texas. Other covens, similar in
teleology but not directly descended from the McFarland/Roberts line, are sprinkled around the country.
*2. The other branch, sometimes called Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, focus exclusively on the Goddess and consists
of women-only covens and groups. These tend to be loosely structured and non-hierarchical, using consensus- decision- making
and simple, creative, experimental ritual. They are politically feminist groups, usually very supportive, personal and emotionally
intimate. There is a strong lesbian presence in the movement, though most covens are open to women of all orientations. The
major network is Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess, which publishes "Of a Like Mind" newspaper and sponsors conferences
on Dianic Craft. [* Amber K]
Celtic Wicca (Church of Wicca)
The Church of Wicca was founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost. They offer correspondence courses in their brand
of Wicca, which is sometimes called Celtic Wicca. The Church of Wicca has just recently begun including a Goddess in their
deity structure, and has been very patrofocal as Wiccan traditions go. The Church of Wicca terms itself "Baptist Wicca"
*The Frosts call their tradition of Wicca Celtic. To me it seems more of a mixture of high magic and eclectic
Wicca, with a smattering of Celtic thrown in. For instance, they use three circles, one within the others, made of salt, sulphur
and herbs with runes and symbols between them instead of just one circle. They also insist on a white- handled athame and
will not have a black handled one, whereas all the other traditions I have heard or read about use a black handled one. It
seems to me the Wicca they practice and teach should not be called Celtic at all; but since a lot of it is made up or put
together by them from other traditions they should also give it a made-up name; say Frostism. If you DON'T have to pay for
the course, and have some extra time, it would probably be worth reading just for comparison. [*From Circe, who took their
The Frosts have always been rather more public than most traditions (advertising their course in the Enquirer
and similar publications) which has earned them heavy criticism in less public Craft groups.
If one word could best describe the Georgean Tradition, it would be 'eclectic. Even though the material provided
to students was nominally Alexandrian, there was never any imperative to follow that path blindly. George Patterson (the tradition's
founder) always said 'If it works use it, if it doesn't, don't'. The newsletter was always full of contributions from people
of many traditions. I've always felt Pat's intent was to provide jumping off points for students and members. So even though
I can claim initiation into more than one tradition, I'll always consider myself 'Georgian first: George is greatly missed,
may the God-dess watch over him. Bright Blessings, Lord Fafner.
*The Discordian or Erisian movement is described as a 'Non- Prophet Irreligious Disorganization and has claimed
'The Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated
put-on. " It all started with the *'Principia Discordia, or How I Found the Goddess and What I Did to Her When I Found Her'*,
a collection of articles and ideas compiled by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Young-er). The central theme is 'Chaos is every bit
as important as Order' as illustrated in the story of The curse of Greyface:
*Humor is central to Discordianism, but Discordianism should not be dismissed as a joke. Profound experiences
frequently accompany the practice or Erisinaism. It is a perceptual game, one which demonstrates that the absurd is just as
valid as the mundane and chaos is just as valid as order. It frees the practitioner from the order games (that most have forgotten
are games) to play games with order or games with chaos, or both. The effects of Discordianism upon an individual can be far
reaching and amazingly liberating. [Although a great many immature individuals have played at Discordianism and thereby side
stepped any chance of spiritual growth whatsoever.
The Nine Satanic Statements
These seven writings outline the basic ideals of Satanism and the Church of Satan.
They represent the core tenets of our religion and philosophy. Any study of Satanism should begin with a thorough understanding
of these fundamentals.
The Prime Statement of Prinicples!
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
An everyday guide for Satanists
to live by.
The Nine Satanic Sins
A list of behaviors for Satanists
The ultimate goals of Satanism.
The Satanic Bunco Sheet
Psuedo-Satanic groups to look out
A Letter to Satanic Youth
A guideline for those starting out
on the Satanic path.
Answering popular questions about
Anton Szandor LaVey
The World's Most Powerful Religion
Satanism - The Feared Religion
Pretenders to the Throne
A Map for the Misdirected
The Myth of the Satanic Community
My Dark Satanic Love
Church of Satan Official Website
The ONLY official web presence for
the Church of Satan.