13 Goals of a Witch

13 Goals of a Witch
by Scott Cunningham, Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, 1988

  1. Know yourself
  2. Know your Craft (Wicca)
  3. Learn
  4. Apply knowledge with wisdom
  5. Achieve balance
  6. Keep your words in good order
  7. Keep your thoughts in good order
  8. Celebrate life
  9. Attune with the cycles of the Earth
  10. Breathe and eat correctly
  11. Exercise the body
  12. Meditate
  13. Honor the Goddess and God
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Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm  Comments (5)  
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The Descent of the Goddess

The Descent of the Goddess (attributed to Gerald Gardiner)

In ancient times, our Lord, the Horned One, was (and still is) the Consoler, the Comforter.  But men know him as the dread Lord of Shadows, lonely, stern, and just.  

But our Lady the Goddess would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of death; and so she journeyed to the Underworld. 

The Guardian of the Portals challenged her: “Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught mayest thou bring with thee into this our land”.  So she laid down garments and jewels, and was bound, as all living must be who seek to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One. 

Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt, and laid his sword and crown at her feet, and kissed her feet, saying: “Blessed Be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways.  Abide with me; but let me place my cold hands on thy heart.” 

And she replied: “I love thee not.  Why dost thou cause all things that I love, and take delight in, to fade and die?” 

“Lady,” replied Death, “it is age and fate, against which I am helpless.  Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace and strength, so that they may return.  But you, you are lovely.  Return not, abide with me. 

But she answered: “I love thee not.” 

Then said Death: “An you receive not my hand on your heart, you must kneel to Death’s scourge.” 

“It is fate, better so,” she said, and she knelt. 

And Death scourged her tenderly.  And she cried: “I know the pangs of love.”  

And Death raised her, and said: “Blessed be.”  And gave her the fivefold salute, saying: “Thus only may you attain to joy, and knowledge.”  

And he taught her all of his mysteries, and he gave her the necklace which is the circle of rebirth.  And she taught him all her mystery of the sacred cup which is the cauldron of rebirth.   

They loved, and were one: for there be three great mysteries in the life of man, and magic controls them all.  To fulfill love, you must return again at the same time and at the same place as the loved ones; and you must meet, and know, and remember, and love them again. 

But to be reborn, you must die, and be made ready for a new body.  And to die, you must be born; but without love, you may not be born. 

And our Goddess ever inclineth to love, and mirth, and happiness; and guardeth and cherisheth her hidden children in life, and in death she teacheth the way to her communion; and even in this world she teacheth them the mystery of the magic Circle, which is placed between the world of men and of the gods.  

Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Journal: Reflection on seeking the divine spark

If God/Goddess is in everyone, and we are all a part of the same cosmic recipe, why don’t people treat each other accordingly? I think its crucial to find the divine in everyone, no matter how hidden that spark might be.

I think that I am doing my best to see the divine in everyone, and that is not always easy. In my line of work I see people at their worst. I have had drug addicts crying and begging me for pills, I have had people swear at me and threaten me. I have also held people’s heads while they vomit, and held grown men as they sob over the death of a loved one. I’ve gone home with tears still drying on the shoulders of my scrubs. I’ve helped deliver a few babies, and I’ve cared for people as they lay dying, and after.

I want to be the person who finds the divine in everyone.

I spend a lot of time looking within myself, hoping that if I can see that spark in myself, perhaps I can see it in others as well.

I make jokes about ‘compassion fatigue’ but its not always a joke.

Its hard to search and look for the beauty all the time. I can only hope it will get easier the longer I do it.

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Journal: Dream of endless love

Last night’s dream included a young man, kind of stubbled beard, dark black hair, singing an acoustic song which of course I knew the lyrics to in my sleep but not so much anymore. The part he said over and over, however was ‘Endless love will save you”. I woke up hearing it.

What is endless love?

Isn’t all love endless?

There are people I love and people I LOVE. There are many degrees of it but I don’t think I ever stopped loving anyone I truly loved–no matter what type of love it happens to be.

Love can change…from romantic to friendship, or the other way for that matter as well. It can go from maternal to friendly, or encompass both. It can be a small jelly bean in the candybowl of life or it can be the grain of sand that made the glass bowl that holds the jellybeans.

All things change.

But does love ever go away? Does it ever end?

Goddess/God love us. We are given life, bounty, shelter and the beauty of the experience. Goddess/God are eternal…endless.

Is not their love endless as well? Can you put boundaries and limitations on something that is part of the Eternal AM?

Is it conceited to assume that the love we feel, as chips from the great Light, is as eternal and enless as Theirs? Or is it perhaps sacreligious to assume that our love can be so limitless?
But are we not challenged to aspire to become Godlike–to nurture the wise and loving traits that are gifted to us from God/Goddess? And if so, then to put limits on the love we feel for others is sacreligious as well.

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Journal: Putting the garden to bed

Yesterday was one of the last unseasonably warm days we will have here in the frozen north. I’d put off cleaning up my garden until the last possible minute, as it saddens me to cut and prune away the plants that have brought me so much joy this past summer.

Truthfully, I probably waited too long. The Poke was keeled over, blanketing some of the shrubbery and the hostas had gone from a fiery yellow to a damp brown. Other annual flowers had dried and withered. If for nothing other than asthetic purposes, I knew it was time.

I got my clippers, put on my gloves and got to work.

 As I took down the drying stalks of poke, the berries fell all over the ground, making a slippery mess where I’d stepped.

Under the old hosta leaves, I found a wooly mammoth caterpillar (is that what they are called?) hiding in the damp.

I sat back for a minute and thought. The birds will like the poke berries, and now that they are not mixed all in the shrubs they will access them easier. I picked up the wolly caterpillar, who was now exposed and at risk of being birdfood, and put him in the sheltered back corner of the garden, where he would be nurtured and hidden within the last bits of poke.

I got to work on the rest and came finally to the corner where my spider had lived all summer, spinning her web between a hosta bloom and a spike on a shrub. I came to that one particular piece of hosta and as has been my habit, bent down to look for the spider. She was no where to be seen, and had been gone since the frost about 10 days ago. I sighed. I really didn’t want to cut down this piece just in case she was still using it or, more importantly, in case her babies were nestled within the pieces she had so meticulously wrapped together with her silk webbing. However, I knew that if I didn’t cut it down and there were babies in there…they would be exposed to the elements and the immenent cold weather.

I cut the hosta stalk down, and with it the branch it was connected to. And then I laid it gently in the back of my garden, safe and warm under some leaves.

Next came the datura, my favorite plant. The leaves had withered but the seed pods were fine, as evidenced by the number of painful pokes I got from the sharp spines. My daughter helped me as I laboriously cut the seed pods off–I promised several coworkers they could have some seeds from my plants–and saved them in a tupperware bowl for later harvesting.

After I was done, I scanned the garden. It looked bare and empty but I realized something.

The dead stuff–it had to go. It was encroaching on the coming green. I know that deep beneath there, tulip and daffodil bulbs lay sleeping, waiting for the call to springtime. Roots of the lavender trail through the dirt, ready to spring new shoots when the winter is behind us. The hosta roots lay in tight balls beneath the dirt, their springtime shoots now had room to grow, now that the old leaves and stems were removed.

And even the spider, should she grace me with her presence next year, will fresh new greenery to begin her task of web-weaving again.

This correlates so well to life.

Letting go of the old, no matter how cherished it is to us, is so important. We have to remove the dead leaves and branches in order to make room for more roots and buds. I realized that my inner garden needs a good cleanup too.

I resolve to let go of the old feelings, old hurts, past regrets. I resolve to trim down the old to make way from the new. Goddess surely has beautiful things in store for me, as she does all of us, and I want to make room for the new and wondrous beginnings that are surely just around the corner.

Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Journal: I did it

Last night, I put out my moon water to recharge, as well as my bowl of crystals and my new necklace.
I brought out the moonwater first, stood with it in my hands facing the moon, and asked Goddess for blessings on it. Next I brought out my glass bowl of crystals with my necklace and money charm in it.
I held this up to the moon as well, asking for blessings.
Then I just stood there, offering myself.
The earth didn’t move, the world didn’t change.
At least, not the world around me.
I asked for blessings, for peace on my path. I asked for love and guidance and knowledge.
Something clicked inside me, a key turned in a lock and I felt open and connected.
When I went to bed, before I fell asleep, I saw myself involved in the Great Rite on a beach, under the watchful and loving moon, with a man inside a sacred circle.
The scene changed and I saw myself again in a scene with the same man.
I vibrated, I felt a connection and a presence…of the Goddess or the man, who is to say.
The man, however, was symbolic I believe. As evidenced by the Great Rite on the beach.
All this while awake, my dreams last night were insignificant.
Today I begin my service to the Goddess. I think I have given myself to her and the God. I think the images in my head confirmed that I am part of both.
I am blessed.

Journal: Giving myself to the Goddess

I have a month until I formally dedicate myself to a year and a day of studying and living in the Wiccan faith. I’ve been watching some of the leaves start to change color, and correllating that to the changes within me.
Some of my flowers are beginning to die off in my garden, and others are in continual bloom. The Datura in specific is thriving. Being a ‘moon flower’ that blooms in the evening I am sure it is sacred to the Goddess.
There is a huge, tiger-striped garden spider living between two of my hostas. She has constructed a giant web and I love checking on her in the morning and evening. Yesterday she enjoyed a meal of a great big bumble bee—the fuzzy yellow and black type. Those bees have been all over the garden, enjoying an early-fall snack in the fresh-bloomed asters and Datura.
Spider is symbolic of fate, changes, life and bee is symbolic of goddess energy.
Is the scene I witnessed yesterday a message to me….give myself to my fate and faith? Give myself to the Goddess because that is what is meant to be?
Walking away from the stern Christian warnings of no other god, and the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality I have been raised with is not an easy thing.
There is enough fear indoctrinated even when following the preachers of a loving God.
The Christian God is a loving God–and I feel that He is the SAME God as the God of Wicca, of the God of Islam, or the God of the Jewish faith….
And if God is to be continually identified as Male, and there is no sex to God, then there must be a female as well…to counterbalance.
God/Goddess…Yin/Yang….
I have given 39 years to God.
I think its time to give myself to the Goddess for a while, and experience the other side of the same coin, so to speak.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 7:51 am  Comments (1)  
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Creation: my idea

At first it was nothing, a large void of emptiness. A void so large and so empty that there was no consciousness, just a growing unrest.
Suddenly a spark in the nothingness came into being and ignited…that ignition led to a burst of consciousness.
With wide eyes, the Spark looked around at the vast empty cosmos. “I,” thought the Spark. “I…AM”
and with such great words, the Spark grew into Flame.
Flame breathed and looked around at the vast emptiness. “I AM,” Flame thought, feeling suddenly lonely.
With that thought, Flame separated, and became Twin Flames.
“We Are,” Twin Flames thought, intertwining themselves.
Still lonely, Twin Flames imagined More.
And with that thought, the void expanded, collapsed, and expanded again, only this time there was a multitude in the void. Planets, stars, suns moons…universes.
Twin Flames sighed, and with that breath life was born.
Upon this world, this Earth, the first plants unfolded their leaves, the first baby animals stood on wobbly legs. Water flowed down heretofore bare rocks, tides ebbed and flowed.
Twin Flames sighed again, a sigh of both moments and eons, and Man climbed from the dust.
Man looked around, stunned. “I am,” he thought. “lonely.”
Twin Flames, recognizing this emotion, breathed again and Woman appeared next to man.
Another Divine Breath and suddenly the Earth was populated with People.
Twin Flames smiled.
The journey had begun.

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Journal: Christo-pagan?

Recently, I mentioned that my family has just joined a Christian church. The pastor is very liberal as far as pastor’s go, believing in both the Big Bang theory and Evolution, and he has found a way to incorporate his belief in God with such hot-spot issues. I like his way of thinking.

Anyway, we went to church two weeks ago and took communion. I haven’t had communion at this church before and I found it very interesting. At other churches I’ve attended, communion always involved the passing out of little squares of bread and teeny little communion glasses (think about half a shot glass) with juice or wine in them.

Having been raised Presbyterian, I always knew that the bread and juice were symbols, and did not actually transform into actual flesh and blood, as some of my more Lutheran and Catholic friends believe.

At this new church, however, we rose from our pews and formed a line to go to the front of the church where we took a piece of broken bread from the plate, and dipped it in the chalice of juice before putting it in our mouths.

Hmm I thought…what does that remind me of?

I had a brief moment wondering if I would be struck by lightning or some other natural disaster would befall me because of my decidedly pagan path. I was glad to survive communion and came out of it with a firmer sense that I am on the right path..whatever unique path that may be.

Today, I was studying my new tarot card deck “The Well Worn Path” and it finally struck me why the communion service, while something I’d never done in that way before, seemed so familiar.

Dipping the bread in the juice to recieve the spirit of God…

Dipping the athame in the chalice to symbolize the union of God and Goddess….

Hmmm.

To me this is a further sign that yes, one can be Christo-Pagan and that Yes, I am still walking the path I am meant to travel.

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 12:06 pm  Comments (2)  
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Journal: My second meeting with Goddess: Hecate

This happened to me about two years ago. I was close to finishing nursing school, and was preparing to start my new job as a nurse on a busy mother/baby unit.
I was into day 3 of killer headache. I got home from class around 3 and slept on the couch til about 6, waking up now and then a bit. T
he window behind the couch was open and the wind was beautiful. It smelled like early summer and cut grass. Just absolutely wonderful and reminding me of when I was little etc. I was drifing in it and I felt a presence. I opened up the psychic channels, trying to hear what was said.
I got a female presence, stating the I AM principle which is how God describes Himself too.
She said Goddess is another aspect of God. If God is everything then He is Female as well as Male. I started thinking about how the Bible said Man is in the image of God and how the patriarchal societies would then of course assign God a male sex.
She was a strong energy, fierce, proud. She was telling me she is in all things natural, all things nature, the wind the rain, the air and the wonderful smells I was enjoying was her and I was right to be thankful. It was weird because I wasn’t scared but it wasn’t the loving feeling as when the angels are around. I got a warrior sense and the name of the goddess Hecate popped into my head. (I hadn’t heard of her before)
Her message to me was that God is everything, both sides, the yin and the yang, the dark and the light because God’s own description of self is I AM.
I wasn’t scared but I felt kind of…something hard to describe. You know how they say that people were frightened in the face of God? I was thinking then I wasn’t frightened, I wasn’t in danger, or threatened in any way, but it was stong female power around me in that sweet-scented air.
Also at some point there was snake and a priest. Preist saying Hecate is evil, I put white light, she was still there. She gave me images: a three headed snake coming thru the window was the most poignant. She laughed at the priest, as she was older than he and knew the truth.
When the vision left me, I went outside to sit on my front step and meditate on it. I noticed that the fresh blooms on my datura plants had all disappeared. It looked like they had been cut off.

Now I knew next to nothing about this goddess, so of course I looked her up. How interesting to find that she is known to have three aspects as guardian of the crossroads. The three headed snake fit well. Hecate has a reputation (rightly or wrongly, depends who you ask) of being a ‘dark’ goddess, associated with death and the otherworld, and I have seen her in all aspects but generally crone. She made herself known to me in a strong sense of energy. Kuan Yin, who was my first meeting with Goddess and who came during my reiki attunements, had always given me a light, pink/purple and white light, a gentle comfort. Hecate came on the wind, with strength and bold colors. And she left with the heads of my datura flowers, to remind me of her power and I think to show her approval. Datura are very poisonous plants, and thus sacred to the darker side of light.
I am sure that I grow some every year, to give thanks to this Goddess for bringing me her message.

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 3:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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