Traditional witchcraft - My defination and practice

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Traditional witchcraft - My defination and practice

Post  Chatters on Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:43 am

Here is my definition of traditional witchcraft, and this is my definition only, this is through many years of study and a very personal journey.

To me the practice of traditional witchcraft is a practice, a craft and for me is an art form, it is not a religion, although many witches may mix spirituality or religion with their craft.

The practice of witchcraft for me is very attuned to nature and basic. There is no need for props or for someone to hand down a tradition - although many families do this and have a lineage that dates back for many generations. I personally come to my path through intuition and as a solitary

The practice of the traditional witch in my practice draws the powers of nature into the individual to create changes. This practice is not formal at all, it does not use rituals but is very personal to the witch. My practice utilises herbs in spell work, herbal teas, healing and folks-crafts. Using the objects in nature, the witch is able to make spells that are readily on hand.

Witchcraft and Magic
Witchcraft is a highly individual and personal practice and is different for every person who practises it. Because of this I find the word magic irrelevant, this word has not always felt appropriate, this is because the word often causes confusion. Magic is not an illusion or a way of stirring up unnatural forces. Magic is natural and all around us, inside us and within us. It is the use of natural energy with conscious intent, and for me is simply a way to better understand the world around me and to harmonise myself with the natural energies around me.

For some the word magic can imply something out of the ordinary, but for me the mundane is magical. When I can sense the natural energies around me and feel I can gently nudge this flow of energy, nothing could be more natural. For example if I want to make a herbal tea I use the herbs from my garden, if I use this tea for a stomach complaint or a headache, is it medicine or a spell? for me it doesnt really matter. What matters is the use of the herbs energy to help heal and ease the ailment.

Spirituality in my practice
My spirituality forms part of my craft, but as I said earlier, witchcraft is not a religion or a spirituality, although some will see witchcraft as a spiritual practise.
Seeking spirituality through nature is the foundation of earth based spirituality and is sometimes called animism. I believe that every tree, plant, hill, mountain rock emanates an energy and spirit. If we came to this way of seeing, this can provide a much needed balance between nature and humans. Modern culture has a view that we humans are separate from and superior to the natural world. If we see that we are not, far from it, it offers a different basis to live and see life truly. If we realise that all beings are the web of life and are all linked, then our efforts to stop environmental destruction is truly in our own interests and growth. What we do to the earth, we are only doing to ourselves.

Seeking spirituality in nature is not a new concept, neither is taking care of the environment that we live in. Our British ancestors reverend and looked after the earth and everything upon it. Many people around the globe have practised earth based spirituality for centuries. We could learn much from the native Americans.Sparkling water in a stream may not be valuable to our modern world but it is the essence of life to an Indian. The ancient celtics saw everything in nature as alive, conscious, accessible and power filled.

Earth based spirituality celebrates the cycles and duality of life in nature. In everything there is a balance, activity and rest, dark and light, birth and death, male and female. Today modern life demands so much of us, there is constant productivity and sensory input. Working life, financial difficulties, wanting materialistic comforts, television, newspapers, computers and many more. Living a natural and more simplified way of life offers a framework that enables us to follow natures natural ebb and flows of a day, a year and a lifetime.

The Elements
Another important factor in my practice of witchcraft is the elements; Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit. My witchcraft can be very intuitive and spontaneous in using ritual when connecting to the elements, if in fact ritual is used at all.

There are many ways of connecting to the elements. I simply acknowledge them. I have a very free more natural way of feeling connected to the elements energy. I do this by feeling the air on my face and bringing my awareness to this feeling, feeling the sun on my arms, feeling the warmth, listening to rain, seeing my reflection in the bird bath. allowing the dew from the leaves to drip onto my skin. All of these are powerful and emotive ways of connecting to the elements.

Spiritual Gardening
When considering my health and my husbands, I have always known that health and environment cannot be separated. However I am still no where near where I would like to be, in living with the environment. Because I love nature and respect her, I am particularly responsible for looking after the environment . I feel spiritually connected to nature and understand the interconnectedness of all life. With this in mind I feel that the garden is an excellent place to begin a ripple effect of healing by looking after it in a sustainable manner. I can see subtle ripple effects in the garden. I can tell that the soil has become much more rich and fertile, and I know that this is due to organic and natural gardening. I do not use any pesticides or chemical based products in my garden. All signs of life fill my garden. This year there has been an increase in the different types of birds in my garden, I can't believe how many thrushes are now visiting me, the robins still live close by and there's an abundance of sparrows, blue tits, long tailed tits, great tits, wrens, chaffinches, black birds, jays, the list goes on, I have also seen a recent new addition; the pied wagtail.

I grow vegetables, herbs and a range of different plants that attract wildlife. I continue to do more and increase my activity in the garden. That will in turn welcome more forms of wildlife, which will in turn renew the essential balance.

Tending the garden helps to tone my body, clarifies my mind, and energizes my Spirit. Other side effects of a healthy garden have become more apparent to me in other aspects of my life. To understand the method and spirituality I am talking about, go to an undisturbed area like a woodland plot, secluded area of a park, or under a large, healthy shrub. Notice that when you're under a canopy of foliage the atmosphere is different. It smells fresh, moist, and soothing. Touch the soil. Generally, it will be soft and spongy, with layers of newly accumulated debris, and below that, humus rich soil in many stages of decomposition. The soil here contains micro-organisms whose names include fungi, protozoa, yeast, worms, and insects. Life flows through everything here and you may begin to feel more balanced. This feeling is the essence of a spiritual method of gardening.

My Current practice
My practice is now heavily leaning towards a more green and nature based witchcraft and is becoming much more traditional in approach, I draw inspiration from folk magic's and I am learning about traditional witchcraft. These paths are very important and I find that both are enriching my life and helping me to see life as a whole as well as living my life in a much more holistic way. I still have so much to learn and do not pretend to know everything about witchcraft, far from it. I am also still learning about my own abilities in witchcraft. I'm finding the strengths I have in general really lend themselves to my craft. For example I am very strong in visual work so I use this in my craft. I also love and hate in equal measure. When I love I do quite fiercely and can be very protective. I have found that when I use magic to protect or help those I love this works very well.

I believe in Gods / Goddess as higher spiritual beings, however I do not worship them. sometimes I simply invite them into my life to communicate with them or ask for help, but this is only if I feel a kind of calling, a gut feeling that is something for me to do. Also as I am developing in the craft and my spiritual life I find that I now prefer to work with spirit guides and my ancestors. I talk to passed family members and spirits and I tend to speak to the goddess or god as a general higher spirit. However this is more to help me feel connected to the web of energy that surrounds us or to feel more connected to the land. Everything I do is through the land.

Currently I am focusing my attention on trying to live the old ways in a practical and down to earth basis, for example I live my beliefs in my daily life, in giving back to the earth what I take, listening to my body and intuition. I am quite down to earth and practical person, If I cannot live it, feel it, touch it, believe it, I do not see the point in pursuing it .

Another part of my craft includes the use of both the dark and light side of the craft within my work, this I see as shadow work, after all nature does not include the concept of good and evil, it just is, unless you consider death, illness, old age, decay and the dark of winter evil. I do not, I simply view them as a part of life, nothing more, nothing less.
In my work I will pour emotion into my intent, in doing so, I am not afraid of using anger as part of a protection craft, especially if I need to protect the people that I love. I would do this in a more mundane way such as go to the police or physically attack someone in what ever way was needed so why not use this in magic as well. My own personal morals and ethics is, if I do not have the courage to face someone in person then I have no business using any other type of workings such as magic.

The bare bones of my beliefs

* The land under my feet and all around me is the presence of a scared and living reality.
* That we and everything in life seen and unseen is interconnected and woven, attached to the web of life and death and spirit. And that all interact and depend upon the other.
* Balance, the natural energies of light and dark - neither are completely opposite as both relay on the other

The afterlife/other worlds
There are many worlds and planes. One of these is where spirits return when the body dies. This world is the constant source of all life, it is beneath and above but also within all things, all things that die are born into the other world and are sometimes reborn in our world. Spirits can also arise in the other worlds and can become other beings and entities and are not always pleasant. They are the same as people, some are lovely and want to help, others may not care, whilst other spirits can be quite nasty. These beings can interact with us through the land. The land can be a portal to what is unseen.

Souls and spirits
When a living creature dies the soul rises again in the afterlife and then may also go on to join a soul group. I believe our soul each belongs to a kind of soul family / group. We may or may not return to this group when we die


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