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Am I alone? Any advice for me?

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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2011 6:24:50 AM PST
J. Hanna says:
C. D. Steele said, "The Left Hand Path is a term referring to Satanism, which has its roots in Catholicism/Christianity." While it has been used to include various kinds of Satanism, it comes from the Tantric term Vamachara which has nothing to do with Christian mythology, and as used outside of a strictly Tantric definition is much wider than just Satanism.

Posted on Feb 22, 2011 8:03:00 AM PST
Walter Five says:
According to *whom*, J. Hanna? Yoga of any sort really didn't come westward to Europe until the late 19th Century, when it was brought (if you will) by the likes of the Theosophical Society and individuals such as Alan Bennett. But the left hand has been identified as "Sinister" in the Latin language for thousands of years.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2011 9:24:35 AM PST
Kitsune says:
Thank you for that info! I am glad to know that now as I've not seen it in my studies.

Posted on Feb 23, 2011 3:34:59 PM PST
J. Hanna says:
Walter, do you know of any attestation of "left hand path", rather than "left hand", in the West prior to that time?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2011 10:15:55 AM PDT
GW Alumna says:
@Voodoo: Witchcraft is most definitely a religion. The fact that you do not believe it to be so does not make it any less so. You simply don't get it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 6:28:19 AM PDT
Debbie, really? I don't get it? That's funny, because religion is difficult to define. Everyone has a different idea of what it is and what it isn't. Witchcraft (not Wicca) does not require the worship of or beliefs in gods, spirits, etc. It is simply the practice of altering reality through will. So how is does that come close to any definition of religion? You know, many Buddhists do not consider Buddhism a religion. Just like Buddhists, many witches do not label their practice as a religion. So, I can reverse what you said to me and aim it right back at you. The fact that you believe witchcraft is a religion does not make it so. It's fine for you to believe witchcraft is a religion...just as fine as it is for me to believe it is not a religion. You simply don't get it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 8:29:06 AM PDT
Kitsune says:
I'd like to toss in my 2c.. what you describe "simply the practice of altering reality through will" could be considered a part of magick, or occultism. Witchcraft does have deities/spirits/etc.

Witchcraft is a legitimately recognized religion by both the US military and the IRS.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2011 5:18:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2011 5:30:38 AM PDT
See, we're talking about two different things here. You're talking about the religion of Wicca. And, while Wicca is recognized by the US military and the IRS.......

"Wicca has never been considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, that court once ruled on the Santeria religion. The case was: Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. and Ernesto Pichardo v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993). This case involved the legality of animal sacrifices which are not a practice of Wiccans. Followers of Sateria often ritually kill chickens and other small animals, cook them and eat them in a feast.

However, the ruling did recognize the rights of a religion which is very different from Christianity and many other organized religions in America. If the legality and status of Wicca were ever to be challenged in court, the Santeria ruling would likely be considered a precedent for the court to follow."

I'm not saying Wicca is not a religion. I'm saying witchcraft isn't, or rather that it doesn't have be. Witchcraft is the practice of magic, and it does not require any form of belief in gods, goddesses, or spirits. Although it is common for witches to believe in these things, there are some who don't believe in any of those things. Wicca is now considered to be the name of a religion in which witchcraft can be (but is not always) practiced. There are Wiccans who focus only on the worship of the Goddess (and the God), but do not practice magic (witchcraft). A person can also practice witchcraft, and not be associated with the religion of Wicca.

I am such a witch. I do not subscribe to Wicca. I do not consider my beliefs to be a part of any religion that exists today, yet I practice a form of witchcraft. Being a witch does not require that I practice or adhere to any form of religious dogma. I consider witchcraft to be a lifestyle rather than a religion, the same as many Buddhists consider Buddhism.

I realize that the words "wicca" and "witchcraft" are frequently used interchangeably by followers of the Wiccan religion and by outsiders to the pagan world. However, those of us within the pagan world who are not Wiccan make a definite distinction between "Wicca" and "witchcraft."

Wicca is a religion, founded by Gerald Brosseau Gardner. It is a collection of ideas and cosmologies, which include theories and practices based in Aleister Crowley's personal brand of ceremonial magick. The Wiccan Rede itself is sourced directly from his religion, called Thelema. Much of the witchcraft found within the Wiccan religion is actually simplified ceremonial magick, which was devised through Gardner's involvement with Crowley. A fine example of this would be The Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentagram. Garnder claims that Wicca is the revival of an underground, pre-Christian witch cult that has Celtic roots. Despite Gardner's claims, there is no evidence that the Celtic people practiced anything close to Aleitster Crowley's Thelema.

What we do know of the people who inhabited pre-Christian Britain is that their beliefs were similar to those of the Norse-Germanic people. We have a great wealth of historical evidence for what those beliefs were like, and they do not resemble Wicca much at all. We all know that the word "wicca" comes from the Anglo-Saxon language. The Angles and the Saxons were Germanic tribes who came to England from mainland Europe. They believed in a pantheon very similar to the Norse pantheon. They did not practice ceremonial magick, as this form of sorcery is a modern construct which draws inspiration from Egyptian mythology, Eastern thought, and Victorian spiritism. There is also no evidence within the Anglo-Saxon culture for ritual nudity, flogging, or sex magick (practices which are prominent in Gardner's description of Wicca). We also find no evidence that the Anglo-Saxons placed a goddess at the head of their beliefs, nor do we find any evidence that shows the Anglo-Saxons adopting deities from multiple different religious pantheons (which are yet more common traits within the Wiccan religion). So, this is just one of the reasons why many of us now make a distinction between the words "Wicca" and "witchcraft." What we call "witchcraft" is simply the act of practicing magic. These practices vary widely from culture to culture, and are not always associated with any particular religion.

Vodou is another good example. Vodou is a religion. People who subscribe to the religion of Vodou may or may not practice magic. Once can also practice Hoodoo....which is a system of magical practices that have roots in Vodou, but Hoodoo is not a religion.

Posted on Mar 28, 2011 6:33:54 AM PDT
Excellent post, Voodoo!

I agree with you 100% and as you and I have had this discussion many times and we have discussed it here on this forum until we're blue in the face, the whole Wicca versus Witchcraft thing is a subject that is simply like the Hydra. Cut off one head and two grow back in its place.

The ideal that Wicca is Witchcraft is so entrenched in many people's mindset that it's going to take generations for education to take hold and root itself.

Like you, I don't worship any form of god. I am a Hereditary Witch meaning I am the real thing. I didn't pick up a book in the local bookstore, attend class or any other ridiculousness and then claim that I am a Witch. There is no Hogwarts, people, nor are there any levels. Witchcraft is not a role-playing game (such as D & D - which I love and have played for about 25 years off and on - but I also know that it's not real) and anyone who says they can teach a person to be a Witch is a moron and scam artist and yes...I realize how many "classes" and schools there are devoted to the "teaching" of Witchery, but I stand by my words as the REAL deal and will stand alone if I have to.

There is one very simple rule to remember before anyone claims to be a Witch and it's so simple that it's actually nothing more than common sense.

Most religions have rules.

Witchcraft does not.

Any religion/practice/path/faith - insert your own word here - that gives you rules to live by (such as the Wiccan Rede) can't claim to be ANY type of Witchcraft. Witches practice with impunity nor do we believe in karma (I will relent that *some* Witches believe in a type of karma, but it certainly is not the "scorecard" thing that so many people think karma is).

If we wanted tales of brimstone and Hellfire...we'd be a part of a mainstream religion and while I do not practice any type of religion, I will say that for me, my Witchery is my path, what I live by and the closest thing to a religion, that I have.

Again...excellent post, Voodoo!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 8:47:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2011 8:49:34 AM PDT
Andrea, thanks. Yours was an excellent post too.

I would only mildly disagree with you on one point though...that witchcraft can't be taught to someone. Certain aspects of witchcraft can be taught to the right person. But I do agree that one cannot be taught how to actually become a witch. I believe firmly that people who are drawn (through honesty and sincerity) to the magical arts already have a tendency toward success in sorcery. Whether that tendency is genetic, cultural, etc., I can't say I know the answer.

I will also agree with what you're saying about all the scam artists out there though. There are tons of them, and they all claim to hold some ancient secret that will instantly (or not so instantly) turn you into some sort of Albus Dumbledore-type figure. The whole idea that you can buy your way into being a witch is ludicrous.

For me, being a witch is not about following someone else. It's not about being a follower at all. It's not about paying fees to some random individual or group so they can "teach" me how to be witch. The only teacher that can lead me down my path is within me. This teacher asks for no fees and imposes no dogma. I have no "levels" to achieve. I have no priest and priestess staring down their noses at me. I am free.

It is said that the term "religion" comes from the Latin "religare," which means "to bind fast." When you think about it, organized religion is a very binding institution. You are bound to your deities, and your deities are bound to you. You are bound to following (or at least trying to follow) the rules and expectations. You are bound to the sacred texts. You are bound to the rituals, and so on and so forth.

Posted on Mar 28, 2011 8:59:32 AM PDT
Voodoo...again, you're right. I feel that anyone who happens to fall into the trappings of the "quack-witch types" and learns something that they actually can apply to their practicings, as you so perfectly said it...had an inclination to be a Witch anyway (and just didn't know it) and just happened to get lucky to find out. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2011 8:58:00 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 21, 2011 8:42:35 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2011 9:02:30 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 21, 2011 8:42:35 AM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Witchcraft forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  63
Initial post:  Apr 20, 2010
Latest post:  May 17, 2011

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