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Gardner, Freydis Vasa, Julia Phillips, and Pyrocanthus Basileus) In ancient times, our Lord,the Horned One, was (as hestill is) the Controller, the Comforter. But men now him as the dread Lord of Shadows, lonely, stern, and just. But our Lady the Goddess oft grieved deeply for the fate of her creations as they aged and died. She would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of death, and so journeyed to the underworld. The Guardian of the Portals challenged her: 'Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught may you bring with you into this our land, for it is written that your True Self is the only fitting adornment for those in the realms of Death.' So she laid down her garments and her jewels, andwas bound, as all living must be who see to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One. Such was herbeauty that Death himself nelt,and laid his sword and crown at her feet, and issed her feet, saying: 'Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hand on thy heart.' And she replied: 'Why do you cause all things that I love, and ta e 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.' And she replied, 'Nay, I love theenot and I am needed in the world of the living.' Again Death nelt, and issed her nees, saying: 'Blessed be thy nees that neel before the Altar. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.' And she replied, 'Nay, I love thee not and I am needed inthe world of the living.' Death (still neeling), issed her on the womb, saying: 'Blessed be thy organs of generation, without which none of us would be. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.'
And she replied, 'Nay though I feel the beginnings of love for 1923
thee, I must return to those I fully love in the world of creation.' Deaththen stood, and issedher on thebreast, saying: Blessed be thy breast, formed in strength and beauty. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.' And she replied, 'Nay though I feel love for thee, I must not abandon those I am responsible for, in the world of creation. I cannot do this thing, better you would return with me.' 'Lady,' replied Death, It cannot be so. If I were to leave my realm, and abandon those who see their comfort and rest with me, then the Wheel would no longer turn. Age and wea ness would overta e those whom you love, and they would have nowhere to find rest, and peace, and reunion with those who have gone before. As age and debility overtoo your creations, there would quic ly be no room for the new, only the withered, the tired, and the stagnant.' He then issed her lips, saying: 'Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the Holy Names. Abide with me; let me place my cold hand on thy heart.' And shereplied, Let us BOTHlay our hands, eachunto the heart of the other, thereby claiming and uniting each unto the other. In this way may I rule my ingdom of birth, creation, and life; yet share with you your ingdom of death, rejuvenation, and rest. United in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, that the Universe may be whole and the Wheel turn smoothly. Death replied, 'This is indeed WISDOM, So Mote it Be!' They embraced, thus pledging their eternal love. And he taught her all his mysteries, and gave her the nec lace which is the circle of rebirth. And she taught him her mystery of the sacred cup which is the cauldron of rebirth. They the life of man must return again and you must loved, and were one; for there be three greatmysteries in ind, and magic controls them all. To fulfil love, you
at the same time and at the same place as the loved ones; meet, and now, 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; and without love, you may not be born. And our Goddess is ever inclined to love,and mirth, and happiness; and guards and cherishes her hidden children in life, and in death she teaches the way to her communion; and even in this world she teaches them the mystery of the Magic Circle, which is placed between the worlds of men and of the Gods.
And thus we are taught of the beginnings of the wheel of the year 1924
wherein the Lord and the Lady share their rulership of the year, each offering and sharing a balance to the other, and the basis of that sharing.
The Charge of The God (c) 1986, Kyri Comyn "I am the strength of the roc at thy bac , the roots of the tree that anchor the Earth and deepest of tides in the blac depths of the ocean. I am the Hunter and the Sacred Prey, the warmth of the sun in the swelling grapes and the call of the road that leads over the hill. I give you, my creatures, the fire of love, the power of the wind on your face, shelter from the dar est storm. You are dear to me, and I instill in you my power...the power of peace hard earned, the power of vision and magical sight, and the spar of elemental fire, which is the primal light in the dar ness. By the powers of running stag and glorious sun, I charge thee; by the dar est depth of night and the lingering tendrils of dreams, I charge thee; and by the beauty of your own creation, I charge thee; Follow your heart and your instinct, wherever they lead you. The wealth of the heart will guide you where the cold edge of logic cannot ta e you. Ta e joy in the powers of your bodies. The form your body ta es is unique in the universe and is chief among your tools. Lastly, always remember the path you have left behind you. Learn to ta e your power from the foolish things you have wrought as well as the good you have done for others and for your world. You can never usurp another's power, and yours is the well upon which you must rely. I am with you always, just over your shoulder, running with you through the tall grasses and forests that surround you. I possess you and I am your Sacred Prey. I am the Lord of Death, and when you have come to the end of your life on this world, I will be there; to ta e you between the worlds, to offer you peace and rest. Loo upon my face; now me. I am the spirit of the wild things, but you too, are wild in your souls and we are forever intertwined."
The Charge of the Goddess (c) 1986, Kyri Comyn "I am the quic ening of the seed in Springtime, the glory of ripe fields in Summer, and the peace of the quiet woods as the snow calms the Earth in Winter. I am the lilt of the maidens' melody in the morning, the patient hand of the Mother and the deep river of the mysteries taught by moonlight. I give the creatures of the earth the gifts of song rising from the heart, the joy of autumn sunset, the cool touch of the renewing waters, and the compelling call of the drum in the dance. To you I give the joy of creation and the companion of beauty to light your days. By the powers of the steadfast Earth and the wheeling stars I charge thee; by the dar ness of death and the white light of birth I charge thee; and by the terrible strength of your human spirits, I charge thee: Strive always for the growth of your eternal soul, never intentionally diminish your strength, your compassion, your ties to the earth or your nowledge. Challenge your mind, never accept complacently that which has been the standard merely for the reason that it is the standard by which the majority judges itself. Thirdly, I charge thee, act always for the betterment of your brothers and sisters. To strengthen them is to forge the true chain of humanity, and a chain is only as strong as its wea est lin . You are my children, my brothers and sisters and my companions. You are nown in great part by the company you eep, and you are strong and wise and full of the powers of life. It is yours to use them in my service, and I also, am nown by the company I eep. Go forth in joy and the light of my love, turning to me without fear when the dar ness threatens to overcome you, and turning also to me to share your triumphs and your achievements, and now in your heart of hearts that we are together in blood and spirit 'til the last star dar ens in the s y and winter comes to the universe."
Charge of The Horned God V. West Har unto me: for I am He who has existed throughout all time. I was there from the beginning; it was my potency that charged the fertility of the Great Mother and created life from her empty womb. Myself itis inthewinds thatsweep theworlds;myself itis in the flames that give warmth and light to all beings. I am he who provides: the Green Man of field and forest fruitfulness; the lust of the bull that engenders life upon the cow; the strength of the boar that engenders life upon the sacred sow of Ceriddwen; the speed of the stag running free in the forest that no hunter can bring down save he who spea s the sacred words to call unto the spirit of the fleeing stag. I am Lord of theDance; he who swirls throughthe starry universe with the world at his heels. I am he who dances on mountain and plain and hearth, and he who captures all things in his dance. AndI amalso KernnuntheDar Hunter;he withvisage asdar as void and armour bright with flame. My name is Lord of the Hunt; my prey those souls who needs must die and descend into the dar , chthonic depths of my bowel. For I bring life but death also; I am he at the gateway of the worlds, and to me shalt thou come in the end, thou who art my child and my prey. . (written November 1989)
======RHYMING CHARGE OF THE GODDESS====== I am the harmonious tune of the songbird And the laughter of a gleeful child. I am the bubbling sound of the running broo And the scent of the flowers wild.
I am the floating leaf upon the breeze And the dancing fire in the forest glade. I am the sweet smell of rains upon the soil. And the rapture of passion when love is made. I am the germination of seed in the Spring And the ripening of wheat in the Sun. I am the peaceful depth of the twilight That soothes the soul when day is done. I am found in the twin ling of an aged eye... And found in the birth of a newborn pup... Yes...Birth and Growth and Death, am I I am the gracious Earth, on whom you sup. I am your sister, your mother, the wise one. I wrap you gently in the warmth of my love. That which your see you shall find within: Not without...not below...not above! Remember always, my children, be reverent. Be gentle, loving and ind to each other And hold sacred the Earth and its creatures: For I am the Lady: Creatrix and Mother! -Kalioppe-
Aint! By: Ellen Reed (First part is spo en) I meet many inds of pagans everywhere I go. The other day I met a grup who worshipped GI Joe. There are many pagan pathways, some ancient and some quaint. I thought I'd ta e this chance to spea of several things that ain't! Being in the SCA does not ma e you a pagan Whatever faith your personna doth profess. A pentagram on your device Don't ma e you pagan, though it's nice. A ritual robe is more than fancy dress! CHORUS: Don't ma e a moc ery of all I hold dear. My path is not a hobby or a game. It isn't something that you play, It's something you live every day And if you don't, you don't deserve the name. Going to a sci-fi con does not ma e you a pagan However great a fil er you may be. The spiritual path that I am on Is more than "Mists of Avalon" Or any other boo by MZB! CHORUS: Don't ma e a moc ery of all I hold dear. My path is not a hobby or a game. It isn't something that you play, It's something you live every day And if you don't, you don't deserve the name. Playing advanced D&D does not ma e you a pagan However high a level you may be. I hate to sound li e such a bitch, But spell points don't ma e you a witch! Initiations don't come with EP! CHORUS: Don't ma e a moc ery of all I hold dear. My path is not a hobby or a game. It isn't something that you play, It's something you live every day And if you don't, you don't deserve the name.
"Gimme" By Ellen Cannon Reed I'm a solitary pagan And I want to learn the Art. So I've gone to many teachers And I've as ed them from my heart. But everyone I've gone to Has bal ed at teaching me, And I just don't understand it, 'Cause I begged on bended nee: GIMME GIMME GIMME Everything that you've got. GIMME GIMME GIMME Right here on the spot. GIMME GIMME GIMME! I'm entitled, you now, I'm a witch 'cause Starhaw told me so. I don't want to join a tradition. Wanna do things my own way, And the way I'll do them tomorrow Won't match what I'll do today. I don't want just one tradition, 'Cause it won't give me enough, And I thin that all of the teachers Should just hand over their stuff. GIMME GIMME GIMME Everything that you've got. GIMME GIMME GIMME Right here on the spot. GIMME GIMME GIMME! I'm entitled, you now, I'm a witch 'cause Starhaw told me so. I don't want to ma e a commitment 'Cause I might not have the time. And they tell me I'll have to wor hard! Well, I thin that that's a crime. Some said if I don't do reading That I do not stand a chance. Well, I've done all the reading I need to do, 'Cause I just read 'Spiral Dance." GIMME GIMME GIMME Everything that you've got. GIMME GIMME GIMME Right here on the spot. GIMME GIMME GIMME! I'm entitled, you now, I'm a witch 'cause Starhaw told me so.
Eyes of a DYKE by Vivienne West "She's one, you now," Anne said, not entirely pleasantly.
"And she wal s so heavy. Not li e a woman at all." "You got to admit she ta es care of her face, though." "Yeah, but in that job you have to." "You never now, she might be straight," I said, joining the conversation for the first time. They both turned loo s of disbelief at me. "Maybe, for all you now, I might be gay," I added, to reinforce the point. They relaxed and laughed. I was wearing a peasant s irt and embroidered blouse. The conversation turned to other things. Just before the teabrea I went to the ladies. There was no one there. Washing my hands under the tepid water ruminatively, I loo ed at my reflection in the dirty mirror. Did that loo li e the face of a lesbian? Round, soft features framed by wavey, long hair that was always untidy and loo ed rather good untidy. A nec with a string of jade beads around it, a nec white and soft. I returned to my des . One of the managers was leaving the room just as I got bac . "He as ed if we new what you were doing over the wee end," Sandy informed me. "If you as me, I thin he fancies you." "He's all right," said Anne. "Wish he'd as after me, that's all. Will you tal to him?" "I don't see why," I replied evenly. "Oh! Got a new boyfriend?" "No," I smiled. "But that doesn't mean I'm loo ing, either." "Sure." They both smiled in disbelief. * * *
When I let myself in, the house smelt faintly of incense. Bounder, the overenthusiastic labrador cross we had inherited from the last tenants, was not around, nor was Yvonne. They must have been at the par . I put the shopping down on the floor, put on the ettle, lit another joss-stic and made tea, watching the thin stream of smo e curl up towards the ceiling in the faint arabesques of a strange language. Later, the shopping still waiting to be put away, I listened to the sounds of the bouncy dog and the front door opening. He greeted me wetly, jumping all over me and the chair I was occupying. Yvonne greeted me casually, brushing cool lips lightly across my forehead. "Hungry?"
"Yeah, it shows. You s irt?"
now, in two years she's never once worn a
"Not really." 1932
"O ay." (How do you say I love you without using words? How do you convey the ache in the belly without moaning?) I went to bed early, listening to the silent sounds of Yvonne wor ing at her boo s in the next room. Every so often a muttered curse, or the clatter of a dropped pencil. Bounder, I new, lay over her feet under the table. I drifted over and around the edge of sleep. I didn't notice her come into the room and undress, but I roused slightly and moved towards her as she slipped into the bed. "Sssh," she soothed, stro ing my arm gently. "Go bac to sleep." "You now what they were tal ing about," I muttered through the incoherence of sleep, my lips feeling thic . "Dy es." I relished the word: I new she hated it. "They were tal ing about dy es. They thin I'm straight." I could feel a hysterical giggle rising in me, but I didn't have the energy to let it out. Instead I drifted bac to sleep, not nowing or caring if Yvonne had understood me. In the morning I stood na ed in front of the bathroom mirror brushing my teeth as she showered. She was singing under her breath, splashing the mouldy walls with soapy water as she washed. I gargled and spat, and searched my eyes closely, deep blue eyes with startling white lines running from the pupils to the very edges of the irises. The eyes of a dy e.
Second Ritual For Bast Chris Olmstead Gwen called me up to tell me that her nineteen-year old Siamese cat Coco, who raised her from a small child and taught her innumerable wisdoms, had just come out of surgery and was not doing well. She tal ed about how her sister Lisa went to the vet every day to sit with him, tal to him, and give him her love. Gwen said she was burning a blue candle next to his picture in order to promote his healing, and was that O.K.? To answer her I mentioned as a gentle aside that I had heard that green was also good for healing. We tal ed cats for a while. She cried. I remembered Buttons, fought tears, and then I understood what pain she faced here. She ept tal ing until I offered that I too might do a healing spell on his behalf. She jumped on my words with an eager "Oh! Would you?!" and I suddenly understood the real question behind this phone-call. I explained that a cat who has seen nineteen summers has really had the best of it already, and that a spell which holds him to a body which is obviously failing him might be no indness. She agreed. I explained that he might just be ready to go, now...since she has been raised, and even her little sister Lisa--with whom Coco lived--had just graduated college. I agreed to do a spell which sent him energy to do with as he chose, either to heal or to move on. She made a hopeful sound that with healing, he might choose to stay, then she hung up. I went quiet, thin ing how best to do this. I mentally reviewed past spells that have wor ed, and why. Spells of "recovery" (whether they have been for illness, or finding Buttons when he was lost in a strange and distant city, or simply gaining the return of stolen things) have wor ed best when I loo at the web as it was before the undesired event, compare it to the web as it is after, and (if the difference is not too great) then shape the web with my mind until it resembles what has been and consequently have the item in question pop bac into my reality li e a watermelon seed squeezed between thumb and forefinger. Here I sought to couch this nowledge within the Wiccan framewor I am studying. I understand how the use of a ritual (or a language, an image, a habit, anything) taps into all those who have ever used the same thing, and nits their gifts together on the time-line. More mundanely, I understand how my own establishment of the habit of ritual will build powerful cues in my mind which ma e spell-wor more efficient. Out of respect for what my teachers have been showing me, I determined to do it perfectly...while no one was around for me to feel aw ward before. How might my Priestess teacher compose her Altar? What things, and what Deity shall be the focus? Well, obviously Bast...and such things as Bast might li e. I thought bac to the ritual I wanted to do with Bast for healing Le-oh. I plundered the memory of it for useful items. I remembered: Bast li es golden nec laces and other shiny things, images of cats, soft lights that don't damage night vision, and suddenly, I laughed aloud as I was inspired to offer Her cat-nip. It just felt right. So I laid these all out (along with the "usual" things): My first piece of jewelry--a golden cat pin, inscribed "Save a Cat" from the Save a Cat League of New Yor , my finest gold chain, two tea cats from the orient, my golden an h, scarab nec lace, and
the spread-winged Horus-falcon I got when I visited the exhibition of Ramses II. I placed a bud-vase next to the water cup and went out 1934
into the night to gather a perfect sprig of fresh cat-nip. A deep breath, and I began by lighting the tiny oil lamps on Her Altar... Standing before Her altar I closed my eyes and reached for the images of the web when Coco was well and compared how it is now. Images slipped and swam. The differences were great. I pictured Gwen, her candles and photographs, and nitted us all into the circle with a breath. Then the images left. I opened my eyes and spo e softly but aloud. (I'm trying to cultivate that ability.) Before me, my cat images glimmered. I remembered the scene where Thomasina visits Bast. I went there too. I breathed energy into myself, and held it in my belly, as my Sensei taught me. Then I said: "Oh Bast--I'm here on behalf of your charge Coco, and his human, my friend Gwen. Coco is old, and it may be that his time has come. It's true he has lived long, but some cats do live longer. If this is still something about which there is uncertainty and choice, let him use this energy to heal. If it is really time for him to go, then I don't wish to stop him. Let him use this energy to go on into what ever comes next for him, and have an optimum and right... 'coming forth into the day'." (I wanted to say 'death and re-birth,' but suddenly that wasn't accurate here...) I then continued, as ing: "Oh Bast, how hard is it to just let things be as they have been, for just a little longer? He is old, but old-age isn't a crime..." and suddenly a voice bro e in just behind my right ear, and in perfectly lucid English She answered softly: "...and Death is no punishment." It shoo me a moment. As soon as She said it I recognized She was right-- (hence--right side? Or R/L Brain?) It humbled me to realize I had thought that death WAS punishment. I new that She was gone as soon as She had spo en, and there would be no point to turning to loo . I felt the energy go out of me toward Coco, and I new the spell had wor ed but that I hadn't gotten the answer Gwen wanted. That saddened me, even nowing what She said. I than ed Bast, than ed and dismissed the watch-towers, and went to bed to thin about it all. Early the next morning Gwen called to than me for tal ing to her, and to tell me there was no need to ma e the spell for Coco. He had died in his sleep during the night...now at least he wouldn't have to face another surgery.
When I went to the altar to ta e it all down, I noticed the water
I told her I had already Coco was o. . I mentioned use in his next reality. her feel better. I don't me or not.
done the spell, and it was my feeling that that I thought he had ta en the energy for I said everything I could thin of to help recall whether I told her what Bast said to
level on the cat-nip had dropped below the stem and it had withered. Somehow that was fitting. It meant many sad and happy things all at 1935
WCC BELTANE RITUAL By Lynna Landstreet Personnel required: Several drummers and other musicians if possible. A priest and priestess who will represent the God & Goddess (and should be garbed appropriately), referred to herein as P & PS, plus a priest or priestess who will read the meditation and "stage-manage" the ritual (referred to herein as "N" for Narrator) Tools/Supplies required: Very few. Thereshould be afire in the centreof the circle,and a chalice of wine and a bowl of Nine Holy Herbs spray or other concentrated alcohol (we ended up using Jamaican overproof rum, which wor ed very well -- flared up about six feet high!). Bring in the people and have them sit. Have the musicians sit together in an inner semi-circle, behind the Narrator. One drummer should be playing a slow, hypnotic heartbeat during the first party of the ritual. The priest and priestess who will represent the God and Goddess should be hiding near the circle, and approach when the part about them drawing near begins. N: "Beltane means many things. It is a celebration of spring coming into full flower, of the return of the Goddess from the underworld, the mating time of the animals, the return of the sun, and many other things. Above all, it is a celebration of life. But for us, here in this community, it is also the time when we leave the confines of our building and return to the temple of the forest. "Wicca is a nature religion, but too often we worship in concrete cages, cut off from that nature, and from our own natures. And as we have now returned to nature in our choice of ritual site, I as you tonight to return to nature in your hearts and minds as well, for the ways of the world within walls are not necessarily the same as the ways of the world outside. "We meet in a small fragment of forest, within acity par . But now, I as you to forget the city that surrounds us. In your mind's eye, let the city fade away and the forest extend on and on, covering the land that only moments ago was buried under concrete. For once this land was wild, and covered with trees, not buildings. Once the rivers and streams ran free, and the air was fresh and fragrant with the scent of cedar and sweet fern, not fouled by car exhaust and factory smo e. And it may be that one day, it will be so again, we have no way of nowing. "But for now, picture the forest extending on and on,as far as you can imagine, in all directions. The great wild forest surrounds and
once. It meant that She had freshness of the offering; natural; It meant that when stay. So it is with what I
accepted the gift by ta ing the essential It meant that things die, and that's the vitality is gone, the flesh can not now of death.
embraces us, and we are the people of the forest. "Herein the greatwild forest, we haveno need ofa sword to cast 1936
the circle, for we have each other, our hands, our minds, our bodies. Join hands, and breathe in deeply, and breathe out, as one. Feel the circle being formed now by our touch, the energy leaping from hand to hand, deosil, around the circle. Feel it forming, a place set apart from the trials of daily life, a sacred, wild place... "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need of a besom to cleanse our circle, for we meet in the wilderness, which is already clean and pure, and by its touch are we made clean and pure ourselves. Feel all fears, doubts and negativities ebbing away from you, as the forest absorbs them and transforms them to good... "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need of incense to purify our circle, for we have the arching s y above our grove, and the rushing wind that ruffles our hair and caresses our s in. Breathe deeply, and ta e the wind and the s y into yourself. The spirits of the air are here always, it is we who have come to their place. Greet them, now, silently, in your own way... "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need of a candle to purify our circle, for we have the balefire in the centre of our circle, and the stars above. See the leaping flames now, hear their crac le, and see them reflected in the tiny fires in the s y above us. Feel their warmth, and ta e them into yourself. The spirits of the fire are here always, it is we who have come to their place. Greet them, now, silently, in your own way... "Here in the great wild forest, we have no need of a water bowl to purify our circle, for we have the rushing stream in the valley beside us, and the dew that moistens the grass. Hear the water's call, now, feel the rising dampness in the air, and ta e it into yourself. The spirits of the water are here always, it is we who have come to their place. Greet them, now, silently, in your own way... "Herein the great wildforest, we have no needof salt to purify our circle, for we have the earth itself, beneath us, and the firmness of our own flesh and bones. Feel the solidity, the vastness, of the earth, and ta e it into yourself. The spirits of the earth are here always, it is we who have come to their place. Greet them, now, silently, in your own way... "Open yourself, now, to the pulseof life all around you. It is there, if you can free your spirit enough to sense it. Feel the life straining to be born in every sprouting seed, the exhilaration of the blossoms bursting from their buds on the trees, the joy of the very grass itself, of every bush and shrub and piece of moss, greening again as the earth is warmed by the sun, as the life-giving rains fall from the s y, and all of nature is borne into the ecstatic dance of life's return. And feel, in the midst of it all, the presence of the Lord and Lady, who are the soul of all nature, the consciousness of the wild, the beauty of the green earth, the sun and moon and stars, and the mystery of the waters. Feel them approaching! Even now, they near our circle, drawn by our love and our joy in their creation. Feel their power, their nearness... they approach... they come... THEY ARE HERE!" Narrator throws the Nine Holy Herbs into the fire. Asit flares up, the drummersbegin todrum, and thepriest and priestessrepresen ting the God and Goddess runinto the circle and beginto dance wildly around the fire. After a couple ofrounds, they each pull
someone in from the circle to dancewith them a few rounds, then each of the four pull other people in, and so on, until the whole 1937
circle is up and dancing (in high school they called this a snowball dance, remember?). As the dance reaches its pea , the priest and priestess ta e the chalice,and hold it up above theheads of the dancers to charge it (this ismade easier if yourcircle site is surroundedby par benches li eours is). If theenergy is really happening,a formal wineblessing shouldn't be necessary, butone may be performed anyway if desired. When the wine has beencharged, the narrator calls "Down!" and people fall to the ground.
N "Feel the energy swirling up and up above us, forming a fiery cone. See it explode in a shower of firewor s, the energy spiraling down to the earth li e shooting stars, adding power to the transformation that is already underway, blending with the energy of every leaf and bud and blossom to aid in the greening of the earth. (Pause) Now rise, and join hands once again." Priest and priestess ta e chalice around circle, and iss each person before giving it to them, while people sing: "Powers of the Earth Powers ta ing form Rising to rebirth, Rising to be born." When chalice returns, pour libation into the fire. N "We need not bid farewell to our Gods, nor to the spirits that surround us, the wind, the fire, the stream, or the earth, for they are always here. It is we who shall ta e our leave of them, later on, and when we do, each of us shall say our own farewell, in our own words. But for now -- LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN!!!" People feast, dance, ma e merry, etc.
Yule Carols courtesy of Green Egg (Yule '92 issue) Ye Children All of Mother Earth (It came upon a midnight clear...) Ye children all of Mother Earth join hands and circle around To celebrate the Solstice night When our lost Lord is found. Rejoice, the year has begun again The Sun blesses s ies up above So share the season together now In everlasting Love! ======================================= Gloria Snow lies deep upon the Earth Still our voices warmly sing Heralding the glorious birth Of the Child, the Winter King Glo -- ria! In excelsis Deo! Glo -- ria! In excelsis Dea! Our triumphant voices claim Joy and hope and love renewed And our Lady's glad refrain Answer Winter's solitude Glo -- ria!(etc.) In Her arms a holy Child Promises a glowing Light Through the winter wind so wild He proclaims the growing Light. Glo -- ria! (etc..) Now the turning of the year Of the greater Turning sings Passing age of cold and fear Soon our golden summer brings. Glo -- ria! (etc..)
=============================== Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful! Oh, come all ye faithful Gather round the Yule Fire Oh, come ye, oh, come ye, To call the Sun! Fires within us Call the Fire above us O, come, let us invo e Him! O, come, let us invo e Him! O, come, let us invo e Him! Our Lord, the Sun! Yea, Lord, we greet Thee! Born again at Yuletide! Yule fires and candle flames Are lighted for You! Come to thy children Calling for thy blessing! O, come let us invo e Him (x3) Our Lord, the Sun! ========================= Silent Night Silent night, Solstice Night All is calm, all is bright Nature slumbers in forest and glen Till in Springtime She wa ens again Sleeping spirits grow strong! Sleeping spirits grow strong! Silent night, Solstice night Silver moon shining bright Snowfall blan ets the slumbering Earth Yule fireswelcome the Sun's rebirth Har , the Light is reborn! Har , the Light is reborn! Silent night, Solstice night Quiet rest till the Light Turning ever the rolling Wheel Brings the Winter to comfort and heal Rest your spirit in peace! Rest your spirit in peace!
======================================== Glory to the New Born King Brothers, sisters, come to sing Glory to the new-born King! Gardens peaceful, forests wild Celebrate the Winter Child! Now the time of glowing starts! Joyful hands and joyful hearts! Cheer the Yule log as it burns! For once again the Sun returns! Brothers, sisters, come and sing! Glory to the new-born King! Brothers, sisters, singing come Glory to the newborn Sun Through the wind and dar of night Celebrate the coming light. Suns glad rays through fear's cold burns Life through death the Wheel now turns Gather round the Yule log and tree Celebrate Life's mystery Brothers, sisters, singing come Glory to the new-born Sun.
The Corn Play (Lammas Ritual) Coven of the Morning Star and Stella Maris Coven Requirements: Lammas Lord Crown (Wheat, Rye, Corn, fruit and flowers) Corn Queen Crown (Wheat, Rye, Corn etc) Fresh-ba ed bread Honey Red Wine Cords to bind the Lammas Lord Green cloth to cover him Lammas Cup and cloth to polish "John Barleycorn" music Ritual Begins: Priestess and Priest cast circle and invo e quarters (Lammas Lord and Corn Queen remain outside circle). A gateway is cut, and everyone calls to the Corn Queen to enter the circle: Queen of the Corn, Queen of the Fertile Earth; come to us now, for we have need of you & etc. The Queen enters, and then leads the call for the Lammas Lord to enter the circle. God of the Meadow, God of the Hill, God of the Corn and of our True Will, come to us now, for we adore you & etc. The Lammas Lord stands in the centre of the Circle, and is washed by the women (each Priestess ta es the aspergillus in turn, and asperges the Lammas Lord - Corn Queen first). Then each one polishes the Lammas Cup, which is returned to the altar, and filled with red wine. (Corn Queen ta es cup and cloth to each person). Then the Queen stands before the Lammas Lord and says: To ill the King To feed the land (Coven: What feeds the land?) The blood of the King The honour of the King The life of the King Two priests step forward, and bind the Lord's hands behind his bac , and tie his an les together. NB: do not not the cords, as the Lammas Lord must be able to extricate himself from the bindings.
(Coven: For what purpose ill?)
The men all turn and face outwards from the circle. The Corn Queen ta es her athame, and the cup of wine, and "cuts the throat" of the Lammas Lord, catching his blood in the chalice. The women help the Lammas Lord to the ground, and cover him with the green cloth. His crown is placed upon the bread, on the altar. A female Elder stands at the head of the Lammas Lord, and a Maiden stands at his feet. They are his mourners. The men turn bac into the circle, and the Corn Queen leads the weaving dance to "John Barleycorn". When the music finishes, all stand facing outwards (including Elder and Maiden). The Lammas Lord removes his binds and cover, and silently ma es his way to the altar. He ta es up the bread and wine, and leaves his crown on the altar. He returns and stands centre. The Corn Queen ac nowledges the mystery of the re-born grain: "Behold the Mystery! The grain, the crop, the food." As she spea s, everyone turns and faces in once more. The Queen steps forward, and neels before the re-born grain saying again, "behold the mystery". She rises, and drin s from the cup. The "Lammas Lord" brea s a piece of bread for her, which he gives to her as she hands bac the cup. She wal s to the altar, and dips the bread in the honey. Then the next person steps forward, and repeats her actions. Then each in turn until all have nelt to the re-born grain, and had some wine, bread and honey. It is important that the Lammas Lord does not spea throughout the ritual. The circle is closed, and the feast begins. This ritual is freely adapted from a traditional ritual practised in the north of England.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT ---------------------------------------------------------------------SYSOP'S NOTE: This excellent food-for-thought was downloaded from EarthRite BBS, 415-651-9496. - Talespinner, Sysop, WeirdBase ---------------------------------------------------------------LOOKING AT YOURSELF before you go a step further, ta e a good long loo at your desires, motivation and s ills. What role do you see yourself playing in this new group? "Ordinary" member? Democratic facilitator? High Priestess? And if the last -- why do you want the job? The title of High Priestess and Priestess are seductive, conjuring up exotic images of yourself in embroidered robes, a silver crescent (or horned helm) on your brow, adoring celebrants hanging on every word which drops from your lips... Reality chec . The robes will be stained with wine and candle wax soon enough, and not every word you spea is worth remembering. A coven leader's job is mostly hard wor between rituals and behind the scene. It is not always a good place to act out your fantasies, because the lives and well-being of others are involved, and what is flattering or enjoyable to you man not be in their best interest. So consider carefully. If your prime motive is establishing a coven is to gain status and ego gratification, other people will quic ly sense that. If they are intelligent, independent individuals, they will refuse to play Adoring Disciple to your Witch Queen impressions. They will disappear, and that vanishing act will be the last magic they do with you. And if you do attract a group ready to be subservient Spear Carriers in your fantasy drama -- well, do you really want to associate with that ind of personality? What are you going to do when you want someone strong around to help you or teach you, and next New Moon you loo out upon a handful of Henry Milquetoasts and Frieda Handmaidens? If a person is willing to serve you, the they will also become dependent on you, drain your energy, and become disillusioned if you ever let down the Infallible Witch Queen mas for even a moment. Some other not-so-great reasons for starting a coven: a) because it seems glamorous, exotic, and a little wic ed; b) because it will shoc your mother, or c) because you can endure your boring, flun ie job more easily if you get to go home and play Witch at night. Some better reasons for setting up a coven, and even nomination yourself as High Priest/ess, include: a) you feel that you will be performing a useful job for yourself and others; b) you have enjoyed leadership roles in the past, and proven yourself capable; or c) you loo forward to learning and growing in the role. Even with the best motives in the world, you will still need to
have -- or quic ly develop -- a whole range of s ills in order to handle a leadership role. If you are to be a facillitatir of 1945
a study group, group process insights and s ills are important. These include: 1) Gate eeping, or guiding discussion in such a way that everyony has an opportunity to express ideas and opinions; 2) Summarizing and clarifying; 3) Conflict resolution, or helping participants understand points of disagreement and find potential solutions which respect everyone's interests; 4) Moving the discussion toward consensus, or at any rate decision, by identifying diversions and refocussing attention on goals and priorities; and 5) Achieving closure smoothly when the essential wor is compleated, or an appropriate stopping place is reached. In addition to group process s ills, four other competencies necessary to the functioning of a coven are: ritual leadership, administration, teaching, and counseling. In a study group the last one may not be considered a necessary function, and the other three may be shared among all participants. But in a coven the leaders are expected to be fairly capable in all these areas, even if responsibilities are frequently shared or delegated. Let us loo briefly at each. Ritual leadership involves much more that reading invocations by candlelight. Leaders must understand the powers they intend to manipulate: how they are raised, channeled and grounded. They must be adept at designing rituals which involve all the sensory modes. They should have a repertoire of songs and chants, dances and gestures or mudras, incense and oils, invocations and spells, visual effects and symbols, meditations and postures; and the s ill to combine these in a powerful, focused pattern. They must have clarity of purpose and firm ethics. And they must understand timing: both where a given ritual fits in the cycles of the Moon, the Wheel of the Year, and the dance of the spheres, and how to pace the ritual once started, so that energy pea s and is channeled at the perfect moment. And they must understand the Laws of Magic , and the correspondences, and when ritual is appropriate and when it is not. By administration, we refer to basic management practices necessary to any organization. These include apportioning wor fairly, and following up on its progress; locating resources and obtaining them (information, money, supplies); fostering communications (by telephone, printed schedules, newsletters etc.); and eeping records (minutes, accounts, Witch Boo entries, or ritual logboo ). Someone or several someones has to collect the dues if any, buy the candles, chill the wine, and so forth. Teaching is crucial to both covens and study groups. If only one person has any formal training or experience in magic , s/he
should transmit that nowledge in a way which respects the intuitions, re-emerging past life s ills, and creativity of the 1946
others. If several participants have some nowledge in differing areas, they can all share the teaching role. If no one in the group has training and you are uncertain where to begin, they you may need to call on outside resources: informed and ethical priest/esses who can act as visiting faculity, or who are willing to offer guidance by telephone or correspondence. Much can be gleaned from boo s, or course -- assuming you now which boo s are trustworthy and at the appropriate level -- but there is no substitute for personal instruction for some things. Magic can be harmful if misused, and an experienced practitioner can help you avoid pitfalls as well as offering hints and techniques not found in the literature. Counseling is a special role of the High Priest/ess. It is assumed that all members of a coven share concern for each other's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare, and are willing to help each other out in practical ways. However, coven leaders are expected to have a special ability to help coverners explore the roots of teir personal problems and choose strategies and tactics to overcome them. This is not to suggest that one must be a trained psychoanalyst; but at the least, good listening s ills, clear thin ing and some insight into human nature are helpful. Often, magic al s ills such as guided visualization, Tarot counseling and radiesthesia (pendulum wor ) are valuable tools as well. Thin carefully about your s ills in these areas, as you have demonstrated them in other organizations. As acquaintances or co-wor ers, who can be trusted to give you a candid opinion, how they see you in some of these roles. Meditate, and decide what you really want for yourself in organizing the new group. Will you be content with being a catalyst and contact person -simply bringing people with a common interest together, then letting the group guide its destiny from that point on? Would you rather be a facilitatir, either for the first fonths or permanently: a low- ey discussion leader who enables the group to move forward with a minimum of misunderstanding and wasted energy? Or do you really want to be High Priestess -- whatever that means to you -- and serve as the guiding spirit and ac nowledged leader of a coven? And if you do want that job, exactly how much authority and wor do you envision as part of it? Some coven leaders want a great deal of power and control; others simply ta e an extra share of responsibility for setting up the rituals (whether or not they actually conduct the rites), and act as "magic al advisor" to less experienced members. Thus the High Priest/ess can be the center around which the life of the coven revolves, or primarily an honorary title, or anything in between. That is one area which you will need to have crystal-clear in your own mind before the first meeting (of if you are flexible, at least be very clear that you are). You must also be clear as to your personal needs on other points: program emphasis, size, meeting schedule, finances, degree of secrecy, and affiliation with a tradition or networ . You owe it to prospective members and to yourself to ma e your minimum requirements nown from the outset: it can be disastrous to a group to discover that members have major disagreements on these points after you have been
meeting for six months. 1947
The Heirophant "An official expounder ofsacred mysteries or religious ceremonies,esp. in ancient Greece; an initiating or presiding priest" OED. I generally use it in the "initiating priest/ess" context (CM heritage,that). Those who hold the power *and authority* to initiate others into our particular Trad, are hierophants when they actually exercise that power. Most of usare explicitlyoathbound to ensurethat thecandidate is a worthy person, properly prepared to receive what we are about to confer,and that the rite of adoption/initiation is correctly done according to Trad standards. Those Trads who've dispensed with oaths still, implicitly,expect something rather similar. When I consider acandidate for initiation,I first loo tosee whether I have a 'proper person' according the expectations of my Art. Next I loo to see whether the Lady's Initiation rests upon them. Lastly, I loo to see that s/he understands what s/he is about to promise, and has the s ills necessary to carry it out (the gumption to stand by his/her oath is part of 'proper person', IMO). While the mar s ARE plain to see,speculation by the uninitiated notwithstanding <g>, all three ARE judgement calls on my part. Then again, ANY situation touching upon my Oath requires a judgement call on my part. At1st Degree,Alexandriantradition permitsme toextend benefit of the doubt in cases where the mar s are recent enough that they shine but dimly (or where the candidate's history leads one to suspect s/he may not feel bound to stand by what s/he swears to). Gardnerian tradition does not. Then again, H'Alexandrian tradition requires that no benefit of the doubt be granted at 2nd Degree, whereas Gardnerian tradition again contradicts. In either case, a 2nd of either Trad has been put to the test and found fully appropriate to the Trad in the judgement of his/her heirophant, we simply do it at different degrees. (That's the theory,anyway, and why we come down so hard on those who f*c -initiate.)
RAVEN GRIMASSI ON HEREDITARY ITALIAN WITCHCRAFT [Conversations arising from Raven's posts are included with the material to which they refer, but are indented to ma e them less intrusive.] THE OLD WAYS: THE SPIRIT FLAME I would li e to share some of the Old Hereditary Ways here, and invite others to post their techniques for Ritual or Magic, etc. I now many of you choose to believe that we Hereditary Witches do not exist, but that's O.K., you may still find this info of use (or at least of some interest). This first post is about what we call The Spirit Flame. In the Aridian Tradition, it is the focal point of the altar. A bowl is placed upon the center of the altar, and is filled with a special liquid, which will burn a blue flame. The appearance of the blue flame represents the presence of Divinity, within the ritual setting. The use of fire as a sacred symbol is one of the most ancient of practices. If you wish to experience the Spirit Flame, you can perform the following, using any high quality perfume, or cologne. Strega Liquore is excellent, and contains all but one of the original ingredients (it is quite expensive, however). Place the bowl in the center of your altar (the bowl must be able to hold fire). Fill the bowl about half full. Set two altar candles, forward of the bowl, off to each side (you are forming a triangle; the bowl is the bottom point of an inverted triangle). Light the candles, and extinguish any other source of light. With a ritual tool such as a wand or blade, trace a crescent over the liquid, and say: "In the name(s) of ____________ and by this sacred sign be this the Essence of the Divine" Then ta e a lit match and touch it, gently, to the surface of the liquid (do not use any liquid other than perfume or Liquor/ liquore). As you light the bowl say :
"I call upon Thee ___________________ be Thou present at this sacred place " A beautiful blue flame will appear, and gently dance upon the surface of the liquid. We consider the flame to be sacred, and we use it to bless objects, empower tools, and create our ritual circles/sacred space. Feel free to experiment with it, but please treat it with respect. Allow the flame to go out by itself.
This ritual has been preserved among the Hereditary Clans, and is still an aspect of all ritual gatherings. It is the oldest of our "laws" that nothing may be removed from the Teachings, so we still
I have altered the wording, and omitted some of the gestures and invocations. You may insert the names of your own deities in the blan space. Even though altered, the technique here is sound, and should enrich whatever you may choose to do with the Spirit Flame.
1950 eep the Old Ways alive (we can add to our material, but we cannot remove anything). In Italy, Strega Liquore has been used as the Spirit Flame liquid, since it was first distilled in 1873. Originally the recipe was sold to the Alberti family, by some Strega (Italian for witch), with the exception of one certain ingredient. Before this, a liquid made from a mixture of distilled grape wine, and distilled grain, was the basis for the Spirit Flame liquid. It was quite similar to Brandy, which was first distilled around 100 A.D. Scenes showing fermentation appear on pottery made in Mesopotamia as early as 4200 B.C. The earliest forms of Spirit Flame Liquid would have been a fermented substance, followed later by ones which were distilled. I am not at liberty to go into the individual ingredients, unfortunately. However, Strega Liquore is about as close as one can get without being initiated. If the Spirit Flame was used outside of Italy, I am unaware of it. But I would be happy to now that others had this Tradition as well. Don't laugh too hard at the following Raven... I experimented with lighting the Strega in my bowl, in my case a cast-iron chili pot cum cauldron. It does WHOOSH, doesn't it?! (No, I didn't set myself on fire). And the blue is lovely... But everything got so hot that the Strega went into a rolling boil and essentially doused itself. IS this supposed to happen? I thin I hear you laughing.... SeraLuna Dear SeraLuna, You can always pic out an Aridian, as they have no eyebrows, eyelashes, or hair!! <VBG> Seriously though, no it isn't supposed to do that. I suspect that you used too much Strega Liquore, and that the pot was too big. A Chili pot full of Strega would... well, it would do exactly what you described! I am glad that you're OK. Next time use only a small bowl, no larger than a cereal bowl, and only use about 2 or 3 oz. of liquid. Many Blessings, Raven ---------THE WALNUT WITCHES In Italy, there is a legend of Witch gatherings in the town of Benevento, at the site of an old walnut tree. Manuscripts from old witch trials in Italy, spea of this tree which (it was said) had always been there, and was in leaf all year long. The nuts of this tree, were said to have been of pyramid-li e form. Many of these walnuts were sold as talismans and amulets. The tree was so huge, and its branches so thic with leaves, that its shade was said to be li e night itself. It was considered sacred to Proserpine, Nox, Diana, and all Cthonic deities. The walnut witches were said to have been a very powerful society of witches. It was through their dedication that the Old Religion survived intact, during the Inquisition (and afterwards).
1951 In 662 A.D. Romuald, Du e of Benevento, lived in Benevento and was said to have joined in these celebrations at the walnut tree. In Benevento there also lived a man named Barbato. He was a christian, and later became a Bishop (eventually he was even sainted). Hard times befell Benevento, and the army of the Byzantine Emperor Constans II, was threatening to invade. Barbato went about the town blaming all the troubles of Benevento, on the witches and their religion. After corresponding with Constans, Barbato approached Romuald, and said that he (Barbato) would perform a miracle and save Benevento, if given authority to "cleanse" the town of its "heathen sins". In desperation, Romuald agreed, and sure enough Benevento was not conquered (but it was attac ed). Barbato had the Walnut tree cut down, and converted Romuald to Christianity. One story is told that Barbato had a church built upon the site of the old tree, and another that the tree was seeded in a different place, and still another that the tree grew again in the same spot. Whatever the case, my mother says that a walnut tree still stands in Benevento, in the Stretto di Barba, near the river. Witches still gather there today in secret. Benevento has long been associated with Witchcraft, and was once the sanctuary of the followers of Aradia, in the 14th Century. In Charles Leland's boo ETRUSCAN MAGIC & OCCULT REMEDIES there are several exaggerated (but fun) stories of the good witches of Benevento. Leland also states that the witches of Benevento were very well nown for their healing, and for dispensing coins to the poor. A last note of interest, Strega Liquor is made in Benevento (and has been for quite awhile). If you can find a bottle, chec out the label. You'll find a picture of witches and satyrs dancing beneath a tree (walnut I assume <G>). ---------THE WATCHERS In the early stellar cults, there were four "royal" stars ( nown as lords) which were called the Watchers. Each one of these stars "ruled" over one of the four cardinal points. The star Aldebaran, when it mar ed the Vernal Equinox, held the position of Watcher of the East. Regulus, mar ing the Summer Solstice, was Watcher of the south. Antares, mar ing the Autumn Equinox, was the Watcher of the west. Fomalhaut, mar ing the Winter Solstice, was Watcher of the north. Towers were constructed, bearing the symbols of these Watchers, for the purpose of evocation. During the "rites of calling" symbolic gestures were given and the names of the Watchers were called out. In the stellar mythos, the Watchers themselves were deities who guard the Heavens and the Earth. Their nature (and "ran ") was altered by the successive Lunar and Solar cults, which replaced the Stellar Cults. Eventually the Gree s reduced them to Gods of the four winds, and the Christians made them principal-ities of the air. Their connection with
1952 the stars was vaguely preserved among the populace, in the concept of Angels. In the Italian system, these ancient Beings are called the Grigori. They are the Guardians of the "doorways" between the physical plane and that which is beyond. In Italian witchlore, the stars were thought to be the campfires of the legions of the Watchers (there were other stellar associations as well). In the 16th Century, the French theologian Sinistrari spo e of Beings existing between "men and angels". He called them demons, and associated them with the Elemental natures of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. This, however, was not a new concept, but was taught by certain Gnostic sects in the early days of Christianity. In the Old Testament (Daniel 4: 13-17) there is reference to the Irin, or Watcher, which appear to be an order of angels. In his boo DICTIONARY OF ANGELS, Gustav Davidson lists the Watchers as a high order of angels, nown also as the Grigori. In Rabbinic lore, the "good" Watchers dwell in the 5th Heaven, and the "evil" Watchers dwell in the 3rd. In Aridian lore, the Watchers guard our circle and watch over us. They assist us in our spiritual growth, and "escort" us to the next realm, when we cross from physical life. We ac nowledge them as Guardians of the entrances and exists, to and from the worlds which connect with the physical plane. We also now them as the Keepers of the Ancient Wisdom, and guardians of the Art. They are Clan Guardian spirits, nown as The Old Ones. They are also pre-Christian and pre-Gardnerian. ---------THE LARE In the Old Religion of Italy there are certain spirits called the Lare (pronounced Lar-ray), who are both protectors and preservers. In Roman mythology, they were house spirits/family spirits. Upon the home's hearth, a small Lare "house" (or chapel) was placed. Each one had a receptacle for offerings, which consisted of wine, honey, mil and flowers (or grain). The focal point of a Family is their home, and in olden times the focal point of the home was the hearth (the Latin word "focus", means hearth). The hearth held the fire which provided heat, and served to coo the meals. A prayer was said to the Lare every morning, and special offerings were made at family celebrations. These spirits were originally gods of the cultivated fields and were worshipped at the crossroads. In early Etruscan times, they were called Lasa. In Tuscany today, the word lasa refers to spirits. The Lare cult maintains a strong family connection, and is largely responsible for the existence of hereditary Italian witch families. Generation after generation has remembered and honored the previous ones, passing on the ancient traditions of the Old Religion. This is why we can trace our heritage bac , and recall the family lines. Today, Aridians still place a Lare house in their home, and give offerings. At birthdays, candles are lit on the shrine for the family member, and also when they die. At certain seasonal rites, the family names are recalled, bac down the family lines. Stories are retold and so on. It
1953 is really quite beautiful, and very primitive. It is our culture and our heritage which binds us together. Sadly, this is something which modern culture does not really understand, or appreciate. FROM: TONY MARCANO It should also be noted that the prayers said at the lararium differed on the alends, nones, and ides. Also, the lares were worshipped along with the penates, Vesta, and the genius (pronounced ghen-yoos). Roman traditions accepted/tolerated many gods, which allowed for the inclusion of a "wiccan" pantheon but very often these were very different traditions shared within the same household. The MTR (traditional Romans) in Italy as a tradition/organization does not embrace stregeria (although some of them may also be practicing witches) but rather view themselves as Roman Pagans, members of the collegium and curia, and in some cases flamines. FROM: RAVEN GRIMASSI Please understand that I am not tal ing about Roman Religion here. I am tal ing about my Tradition, which has its roots in ancient Italy. Our people lived under Roman rule perhaps, but did not follow the classic Roman Religion. We are Strega and are different from classic Roman Tradition. I am not leaving things out here, I'm spea ing of the Ways of my Clan. Certainly there were other things going on in Italy concurrently with us (but different from us). Than s for adding your nowledge to this post, but I simply wish to eep things clear (and not to contradict you). ---------DIANA & REX NEMORENSIS There is a very interesting myth about the worship of Diana, which I would li e to share here. Long ago, in the Alban hills, there came a runaway slave who was favored by the Goddess Diana. Because She had freed him, he desired to worship Her, and She gave him sanctuary. One day Diana appeared to him beneath a large tree which stood in the center of a clearing, within a large grove. Then just after sunset She proclaimed Her love for him, but at the same time demanded that he prove himself worthy of Her favors. So Diana brought before him a mighty warrior, who was Guardian of the Grove. Then She told the runaway slave to challenge the Guardian. But the Guardian would not accept the challenge, unless the former slave could prove his strength and courage. So the runaway climbed the great tree, and bro e off a large branch with his hands. The branch was so strong that no ordinary man could brea it. So the Guardian accepted the challenge, and the two battled for the favor of Diana. The Guardian was defeated and met his end at the hands of the runaway slave. Then Diana touched his shoulders, placed a wreath upon his head, and said "Thou art Rex Nemorensis (King of the Woods)". This is one of the mystery texts, and deals with
1954 parts of our inner self. Loo at the characters in the Myth as yourself, and at Diana as Enlightenment. Now, bac to the note. In central Italy lies the la e once nown as Lacus Nemorensis. This la e was also nown as the Speculum Dianae (Mirror of Diana). Here on the northeast shore of this ancient la e, once stood the temple of Diana. Here too was the sacred grove of Diana. In ancient times the followers of Diana gathered at the Temple to give worship, and to be healed by the water, which was said to flow into a pool within the Temple. At Nemi, in the Alban Hills, Diana was worshipped in many forms. At the new moon She was the chaste Huntress and the crescent moon was her bow. In this aspect She was seen as the eternal virgin, free from the need for men. At the time of the full moon, Diana was the Enchantress, the Queen of Magic. At the dar of the moon Diana was vengeful, secretive, and somewhat dangerous. As the chaste, Her name was pronounced Dye-anna. As the Queen it was pronounced Dea-nah, and at dar of moon it was pronounced Dee-anna. These are essentially the same aspects commonly referred to as Maiden, Mother, Crone. Another term for Rex Nemorensis, was the Hooded One. It is interesting, because a cult formed in the Groves of Nemi around this theme, and was comprised of outlaws and runaway slaves from Rome. There is a similarity between this mythos, and the Robin Hood legend. Especially when you consider that runaway slaves and outlaws from Rome gathered in the forests of Nemi. The Hooded One was a title for the representative of the God (usually referred to as Kern). This person was the cult leader, and held the title of either the Hooded One, or Rex Nemorensis. The major difference probably lies in the fact that the Hooded One could be either a male or a female. But Rex Nemorensis was always a male. Legend says that the Hood helped to conceal the gender. The outlaws of the Forest in Nemi were more of a religious cult, and lived more off than the land, than off the rich (although an occasional ambush here or there was not out of the question). ---------DIANA AND DIANUS The most common names found associated with The Old Religion, in Italy, are Diana & Dianus. Dianus is the nature god, associated with the woods, herds, fertility, and so on. He was present in the rites of Diana at the sacred grove of Nemi. He is also nown as verbius, and is lin ed to the title Rex Nemorensis. Oa s were sacred to Dianus, which were present in the groves at Nemi. It seems li ely that, in time, he was also associated with the god Janus. Janus was a god of doorways/portals (and of beginnings in general). In this aspect, Janus was a guardian who ept non-initiates away from the Mystery Traditions. He carried a whip and a rod, which could usher in, or drive away. Dianus, as the guardian Rex Nemorensis, is easily lin ed to Janus, in this aspect. In the Aridian Tradition, Diana and Dianus would be two parts of the Divine One Great Spirit. Usually, Dianus is visualized as a
1955 stag god, or a man with antlers. He can also be associated with the forest god, nown as Kern (no, Kern, not Herne ...different land, similar story). Dianus is the they are more li e lovers, and so on. Dianus (other than A.D.
Jana is one of the names we Aridians use for the Goddess (the others are Tana & Fana). The Goddess Jana is the Moon Goddess of the Janarric Clan. In Naples, the term Janarra was once used as the word for witch (instead of Strega). The Janarra are the eepers of the Lunar mysteries, in the Triad Traditions. Sometimes they are called the Sea Witches, because they once practiced along the coastal regions, and near the Bay of Naples. In Italy there are three Clans, nown as the Triad. THe first is called the Fanarra, second is the Janarra, and third is the Tanarra. The Fanarra are the " eepers of the earth mysteries", the Janarra are " eepers of the Lunar mysteries", and the Tanarra are the " eepers of the stellar mysteries". Originally they were one Clan, comprised of the covens which Aradia had established in the 14th Century. When the Inquisition began murdering witches, the Clan split up into their respective mystery traditions, in order to preserve at least one of the old Mystery Teachings. As the Fates would have it, however, all three survived. The Aridian Tradition is a rejoining of the three, bac into the original state (as practiced in the time of Aradia). Each leader of a Clan, has a wor ing nowledge of the two other Clans. Each Clan has a different aspect of Deity, for their Focus. Fanus is the basic earth connection of the God. He is lord of the mysteries of the earth. He is primal, and one of the first awa enings of Divine Consciousness (in the Physical Plane). Janus is the awa ening of the Divine Consciousness to the Solar System (if you will). He is the connection to the Sun and other planetary influences. Tanus is the awa ening of Divine Consciousness to the Universe. He is the connection to higher Divinity, to the Source of All Things. So, actually they are the same Deity, but seen in various aspects (more properly, they are symbols of the stages through which Human Understanding has mar ed its contact with Divinity). Dianus is Fanus in a higher aspect. Fanus is more li e Pan, while Dianus is more li e Kern (stag horned god of the forests of Nemi). The double faces of Janus symbolize (among other things) the stage of a God who is between its base earth aspect, and its higher Divine aspect. These gods may also be thought of as the stages of Child, Adolescent, and Adult (although I would never say that to their face...nor neither face of Janus). Another illustration might help: Fanus is seen with animal horns, while Janus is seen wearing a crown, and Tanus is visualized with a blue flame forming a sort of "halo" around his head. Thus, you have the Nature made (horns), Human made (crown), and Divine made (light) concepts of Deity.
consort of Diana, even in Her chaste aspect. Here brother and sister. In other aspects they are Historical references to the cult of Diana and Classical Age) appear as early as the 4th Century
1956 Just a bit of an extension from my first reply (and a bit less emotional I hope). Frazer was not presenting a "Tradition" or a "System". He was simply spea ing of the ancient practices and concepts of The Old Religion (and other things as well). You as ed about our differences and li enesses. We share the common nowledge of Diana at Nemi, and some aspects of Her cult there. Rex Nemorensis is simply another aspect of what was once practiced at Nemi. In my Tradition there is no office of this title, and his legend is only one of the Mystery Teaching concepts, which we have retained over time. Legend says that Aradia (the Holy Strega) established a camp in the ruins of Diana's Temple, there at Nemi. I suppose that might be considered a connection somehow. Actually, Aradia was a Tuscan Witch and taught the Old Religion as a whole (not simply as practiced at Nemi). Frazer doesn't go into much depth concerning the Witch Cult in Italy, so I don't now what else to compare it to. I am NOT giving a history of my Tradition here, but my Tradition is a part of what I am posting. In Leland's boo , Aradia is the Daughter of Diana & Lucifer. In the mythos of the Aridian Tradition, Aradia is quite human (and is not the actual "daughter" of Diana). Now, Diana does have three aspects, just as Dianus has. She is Fana, Jana, and Tana just as he is Fanus, Janus, and Tanus. How this all came about, goes bac to the Coven which Aradia had founded in the 14th Century . In time as this coven divided and established other covens, the Inquisition arose (by the way, in Italian the word for coven is boschetto pronounced boss- ett-oh - and means a grove). Hoping to eep the mysteries alive, they established three Clans. Each Clan was a "Keeper" of one of the mystery traditions. These were the Earth, Lunar, and Stellar Mysteries. Each Clan then named the Deities in accordance with their mystery system. That is how Diana and Dianus came to be nown by these many names. It is customary in some Traditions/Systems to have an "inner court" name for the God & Goddess. A name not nown to any non-initiates. So, some groups will chose (or create) a secret name, which only they will use when addressing Deity. For those who both believe, and do not believe, in the antiquity/survival of The Old Religion, I offer the following: In 30 B.C., the Roman Poet Horace wrote his wor called the Epodes of Horace. In part, they deal with a dialogue between he and an Italian witch named Canidia. In Epode 5, he associates Diana & Proserpina with witches in a mystery Cult. In Epode 17, he names these goddesses as patron goddesses of Witchcraft, and states that witches use a boo called Libros Carminum, by which they "call down the moon" and ma e philtres and evo e spirits. Other Roman writers of the period, support this basic theme in their writings (such as Lucan and Ovid). From this we can conclude, that the association of witches with Diana, was generally accepted in Italy (circa 30 B.C.). Bear in mind that this is being written about in pre-Christian times, and not in the 1950's of Gerald Gardner. In note titled "The Society of Diana", I will show that this
1957 cult continued on (in Historical documentation) through the 19th Century. EPODE 5 : "...Night and Diana, who command silence when secret mysteries are performed, now aid me: now turn your vengeance and influence against my enemies' house..." EPODE 17: (to canidia) "Now already I yield to your mighty art, and suppliant beseech you by the realms of Proserpine, and by the powers of Diana, not to be provo ed, and by your boo s of enchantments that are able to call down the fixed stars from heaven, Canidia, at length spare your magic words, and turn bac ward your swift wheel..." (Canidia replies) "...must I, who can move waxen images and call down the moon from the s y by my spells, who can raise the vaporous dead, and mix a draught of love lament the effect of my art, availing nothing upon you ?" ---------THE SOCIETY OF DIANA The historical documentation which I present here, is drawn from the research notes and boo s of, Professor Carlo Ginzburg (Professor of Italian Renaissance Studies at Univ. of California in Los Angeles), Professor Ernesto de Martino (Prof. of the History of Religions at Cagliari Univ., Italy), Professor Cardini (Prof. of History at the Univ. of Florence), and Julio Baroja (Anthropologist) In his boo , The World of Witches, Julio Baroja writes of southern Europe "There seems to have been a flourishing cult of Diana among European country people in the 5th & 6th Centuries, and she was generally loo ed upon as a Goddess of the woods and fields, except by those trying to root out the cult, who thought she was a devil". In the authors notes, for chapter 4, he adds that the cult also worshipped a male deity called Dianum. In 906 A.D., Regino of Prum wrote in his instructions to the Bishops of the Kingdoms of Italy, concerning this cult. Here he states "...they ride at night on certain beasts with Diana, goddess of the pagans, and a great multitude of women, that they cover great distances in the silence of the deepest night, that they obey the orders of the goddess...by spea ing of their visions (they) gain new followers for the Society of Diana..." The following Chronology will demonstrate the continuation of this "Society of Diana" up through the centuries to modern times. 1006 A.D. : 19th boo of the Decretum (entitled Corrector) associates the worship of Diana with the common
1958 pagan fol . 1280 A.D. : Diocesan Council of Conserans associates the Witch Cult with the worship of a Pagan Goddess 1310 A.D. : Council of Trier associates witches with the goddess Diana (and Herodias) 1313 A.D. : Giovanni de Matociis writes in his Historiae Imperiales, that many lay people believe in a nocturnal society headed by a queen they call Diana 1390 A.D. : A woman was tried by the Milanese Inquisition for belonging to the "Society of Diana", she confessed to worshipping the "goddess of Night" and stated that "Diana" bestowed blessings on her 1457 A.D. : 3 women tried in Bressanone, confess that they belonged to the "Society of Diana" (as recorded by Nicholas of Cusa). 1526 A.D. : Judge Paulus Grillandus writes of witches in the town of Benevento who worship a goddess at the site of an old walnut tree. 1576 A.D.: Bartolo Spina writes in his Quaestico de Strigibus. listing info gathered from confessions, that witches gather at night to worship "Diana", and have dealings with night spirits. 1647 A.D.: Peter Pipernus writes in his De Nuce Maga Beneventana & De Effectibus Magicis, of a women named Violanta who confessed to worshipping Diana at the site of an old walnut tree in the town of Benevento. 1749 A.D.: Girolamo Tartarotti associates the Witch Cult with the ancient cult of Diana, in his boo Del Congresso Nottorno Delle Lammie. 1890 A.D.: Author Charles Leland associates the Witch Cult with the goddess Diana, as a survival of the ancient ways, in his boo Etruscan Magic & Occult Remedies. 1894 A.D.: Lady Vere de Vere, after investigating witchcraft as it then existed in the Italian Tyrol region, wrote an article in La Rivista of Rome (June 1894) stating that "...the Community of Italian Witches is regulated by laws, traditions, and customs of the most secret ind, possessing special recipes for sorcery."
1959 1895 A.D.: Professor Milani (Etruscan Scholar & Director of Archaeological Museum in Florence) states that various elements of ancient Etruscan occultism have been "marvelously preserved"in the "Italian Witch Tradition." Professor Milani was familiar with the wor s of both Lady Vere de Vere and Charles Leland. This theme continues through various authors (T.C. Lethbridge, Carlo Ginzburg, Doreen Valiente) into the 1900's and current era. Boo s written since 1950's are common enough and probably do not need listing here. Source material for Chronology: Ecstacies-deciphering the witches Sabbath Night Battles-witchcraft and agrarian cults (by Ginzburg) Etruscan Magic & Occult Remedies, Legends of Florence, Aradia; gospel of the witches (by Charles Leland). The World of Witches, by Julio Baroja. ---------A PRAYER TO DIANA " Great Diana, Goddess, hear my words of adoration. Hear my voice when I spea your praises. Hear my chanting as it rises upon the smo e of the incense I offer you. See me when I reach up to you; when the Full Moon shines upon me give me your blessings. Oh Diana, teach me your ancient mysteries, ancient rites of invocation which the Holy Strega spo e of, for I believe the Strega's story: when she spo e of your shining glory, when she told us to entreat you, told us when we see for Knowledge to see and find you above all others. Give me wisdom, Diana, and bind my oppressors. Grant me the Ancient Knowledge, and spea to my inner spirit, teaching me all the Holy Mysteries. I believe your ancient promise, the promise to all the ancient Clan, that we who see your Holy Presence will receive of your Wisdom. Diana, thin yet even for a moment, upon one who calls upon your name". I have always loved this old prayer. Once saw a very similar version of it in a boo called The Grimoire of Lady Sheba. Always wondered where she came by it. Her version is more poetic, and has all the nice "Thee" and "Thou" stuff. I li e both versions, because of the mention of The Holy Strega (but I am partial to my Family one). ---------FROM: HELEN TYLER My compliments & than s to you for your posts on the Old Ways, Raven. I am a Solitary practitioner of the Hereditary/Traditional Way & started on the Path in the 30's at my Grandmother's nee (turned 66 last wee & am still on the Path - learning more & more every day!). Since you mentioned Lady
1960 Sheba's Prayer in your post, thought everyone might li e to see it. She does not mention her source, then again, she does not give the source on many of her writings.
O My Goddess, Diana, hear my song of adoration. Hear my voice when I sing Thy praises. Hear my songs as they rise heavenward, when the Full Moon, brightly shining, fills the heavens with Thy beauty. O my beautiful Moon Goddess, hear me as I stand before Thee. See me when I reach toward heaven, when my arms reach upward toward Thee. When the Full Moon shines upon me, give me Thy blessings, O Diana. Teach me of Thine ancient mysteries, ancient rites of invocation that the Holy Strega spo e of, for I believe the Strega's story: when she spo e of Thy shining glory, when she told us to entreat Thee, told us when we see for nowledge to see and find Thee above all others. Give us wisdom, O Diana: how to bind our oppressors, how to cure the sic among us. Teach me, O Diana. Give me Thy blessings, O Great Moon Goddess. Shield me from my oppressors. Receive me as your daughter, Diana. Receive me, though I am earth-bound. Grant me ancient Wiccan nowledge. When my body lies resting nightly, spea unto my inner spirit; teach me all Thy holy mysteries. I believe Thine ancient promise, Thy promise unto the ancient Wicca that we who see Thy holy presence will receive Thy Wisdom. Now the Full Moon shines upon me. Hear me! I stand before Thee! Grant me wisdom! O Diana! Shield me from my oppressors! Teach me Thine holy mysteries! I sing Thy praises unto the heavens. Let Thy glory shine about me. Bless us, O gracious Queen of Heaven. Descend Thou among us; Descend and conquer, Gracious Goddess. Ta en from The Witches Wor boo : The Magic Grimoire of Lady Sheba, by Jessie Wic er Bell, pub. Kensington Pub. Co., 1975 ---------THE LEGEND OF ARADIA In 1508 A.D. the Italian Inquisitor Bernardo Rategno (having studied witch trial records preserved in the archives of the Inquisition at Como) wrote a text called the Tractatus de Strigibus. In this text he states that the " witches sect" had begun to expand 150 years earlier. This would place the "expansion" about 1350 (14th Century Italy). What caused this to happen ? Well, the answer may be found in
Prayer to Diana
1961 the old legend called The Legend of the Beautiful Pilgrim. This legend can be found in author Charles Leland's notes for his boo : Aradia, gospel of the witches. According to this story, there once was a young woman from the town of Volterra who "travelled far and wide, teaching and preaching the religion of old times, the religion of Diana, the Queen of the Fairies and of the Moon, the Goddess of the poor and the oppressed". Leland goes on to say "And the fame of her wisdom and beauty went forth over all the land, and people worshipped her, calling her La Bella Pellegrina (the Beautiful Pilgrim). In the Aridian Tradition we refer to Aradia as The Holy Strega (pronounced Stray-gah, meaning witch) and we honor her memory. We do not worship her. According to our teachings, Aradia formed covens (called groves) in central Italy during the 14th Century. She taught the Old Religion of Nature, and of Magic, but above all she taught a Spirituality. Beyond this she gave hope to peasants whose lives were made miserable, in service to the wealthy class. She taught them personal power, and personal value, in an Age when the Church taught shame and sin, and servitude. Aradia returned their beautiful pagan heritage to them, a heritage which was preserved in secret by courageous Priests and Priestesses of The Old Religion. Aradia taught harmony with Nature, and directed her followers to merge with Nature through seasonal rites, and ritual observation of the Full Moon (times of planetary power). Charles Leland's version of Aradia, is not the original version. It has little to do with the Aradia I have addressed here. His wor is a Christianized view of Aradia, and does not reflect the beliefs, or practices, of Hereditary Italian Witches. So, if you chose to read his boo , bear in mind that he and I are NOT spea ing of the same Aradia. His account of the Legend given here, is the only thing I can agree with in his boo . The rest of his boo does not show Aradia in a positive light. ---------THE GIFTS OF ARADIA In the 14th Century, Aradia taught that certain powers could be obtained through following The Old Religion. Aradia called them "gifts" because she stressed that these powers were side benefits of adhering to the Old Ways, and not the reason for becoming a witch. These gifts are commonly referred to, today, as the traditional powers of Witchcraft. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. To To To To To To To bring success in matters of love bless and consecrate spea with spirits now of Hidden Things call forth spirits now Secret Signs possess the Knowledge of changing forms
1962 8. To possess the Knowledge of Divination 9. To now secret signs 10. To cure disease 11. To bring forth beauty 12. To have influence over wild beasts 13. To now the secrets of the hands Aradia taught that a witch must observe the Seasonal Rites and the time of the Full Moon, in order to eep these powers. ---------THE BEAUTIFUL PILGRIM In 1508 A.D., the Italian Inquisitor Bernardo Rategno (having studied witch trial records preserved in the archives of the Inquisition at Como) wrote a text called the Tractatus de Strigibus. In this text he states that the "witches sect" had begun to expand rapidly 150 years earlier. This would place the "expansion" in the mid 1300's. What caused this to happen ? The answer may lay hidden in the Legend of La Bella Pellegrina (the beautiful Pilgrim). This legend appears in Charles Leland's research material (1887), and was even then considered a very old legend. According to this story, there was a young woman from the town of Volterra, who "travelled far and wide, teaching and preaching the religion of old times, the religion of Diana, the Queen of the Fairies and of the Moon, Goddess of the poor and the oppressed". Leland goes on to say "and the fame of her wisdom and beauty went forth over all the land, and people worshipped her, calling her The Beautiful Pilgrim". This legend appears in his boo ARADIA, GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES. The boo itself is not really very good, but does contain some interesting bits of Lore. In my Tradition we do have the legend of Aradia, but she differs from the Aradia presented in Leland's boo (not from this legend, but from his portrayal of her character). In my Tradition, Aradia was a great teacher who brought about a "revival" of The Old Religion, in 14th Century Italy. We honor her memory, but we do not worship her. We call her The Holy Strega . Strega (pronounced stray-gah) is the Italian word for Witch. Aradia taught that certain "powers" would be gained through the practice of The Old Religion, if one was truly dedicated. These are the "traditional" powers of which she spo e: To to to to to to to to to to to to to bring success in love bless and consecrate spea with spirits now of hidden things call forth spirits now the voice of the wind possess the nowledge of changing forms possess the nowledge of divination now secret signs cure disease bring forth beauty have influence over wild beasts now the secrets of the hand
1963 In my tradition it is that taught we are descended from those covens which Aradia established in the 14th Century. ---------CELEBRATIONS OF THE YEAR In Italy, witches do not use the word Sabbat for their seasonal rites. The Italian word is Treguenda (pronounced tray-gwen-dah) and is similar in meaning to Sabbat. Webster's dictionary lists Sabbat as old French for Sabbath (old English as well). The word Sabbatical is shown to mean "of or suited to the Sabbath" and "a period of rest that occurs in regular cycles". The word Treguenda has as its root the word Tregua, which means "a respite, or a truce". It is interesting to note that "Tregua" (tray-gwah) is also slang for the Full Moon Ceremony. The actual word for the Full Moon Ceremony is Veglione (pronounced Vay-yoe-nay), and literally means to dance all night. Veglione is also the name of a popular fol dance in Italy. In early times the followers of The Old Religion were farmers and craftsmen. Their lives were largely spent in toil. Their Religion provided times in which they could set aside their wor , and enjoy a social and spiritual celebration. These Festivals were indeed "respites" or "periods of rest occurring in regular cycles". In The Aridian Tradition there are 8 Treguendas, four major and four minor. The major rites occur in October, February, May and August. These are the Spiritual Festivals which are considered of greater importance. The minor festivals occur on the Spring & Autumn Equinox, and on the Summer & Winter Solstice. These are the Earth Festivals, and are seasonal/agricultural in nature. The Mythos of the Old Religion runs through each of these Celebrations. They are named as follows: Shadowfest (La Festa dell' Ombra) Winter Solstice (La Festa dell' Inverno) Lupercus (Festa di Lupercus) Spring Equinox (Equinozio della Primavera) Tana's Day (La giornata di Tana) Summer Solstice (La Festa dell' Estate) Cornucopia (La Festa di Cornucopia) Autumn Equinox (Equinozio di Autunno) A common term for the 8 rites is the "Wheel". It is thought of as a Spinning-wheel, turning and weaving the patterns of Life. On the physical level it is symbolic of the changing seasons. On the spiritual level it is symbolic of the "seasons of the soul". The Mythos which is an integral part of each rite, symbolizes the Journey of the Soul through a variety of Existences. In the Mystery Teachings of the Wheel, we discover that we are the characters in the Myth. Everything is symbolic within each myth, and represents various aspects of the encounters facing a soul as it passes from life to life. Through a study of the Mythos, and routine participation in each Treguenda, one can gain spiritual enlightenment.
1964 The mythos within the Full Moon Ceremony, weaves its way through each Treguenda, and completes the spiritual vision. It is interesting to note that the ancient teachings connect the light of the Moon, to passages and reincarnations of the Soul. FROM: MINNIE BAXTER Merry Meet Raven,To ma e sure we are tal ing or thin ing about the same thing let me give you some information: Aradia (Strega Witch) was born in Volterra, Italy, on August 13, 1313. In her early teens (10-12 yrs.) she moved with her parents to the Alban hills near the la e now nown as Nemi. This region not far from Rome. She experienced something in the unexplained area, a mystery to herself. This was the beginning of her promoting the old religion that was taught to her by her aunt. On the subject of her "mystery". A voice using telepathy spo e to her telling her to loo upwards. She gazed upwards and saw the s ies began to dar en (for there was a Moon Shadow) and she understood. This changed how she perceived life. Is this the clan of people you are saying is your relatives? If so lets tal about "The Moon Shadow" she saw in the s y. Are you Raven under the direction of the council of the Third Clan? FROM: RAVEN GRIMASSI The titles of the boo s which I have written are: (listed only because someone as ed) The Boo of Ways (Volumes 1 & 2) 1981 & 1982 The Boo of the Holy Strega 1981 The Teachings of the Holy Strega (1991 reprint, new Intro) Whispers, teachings of the Old Religion of Italy 1991 I have also just completed a boo let titled : The Aridian System, an introduction to Italian Witchcraft. These are the only boo s available at this time, on the Aridian Tradition. I am currently writing a boo of rituals and magic, which I will be submitting to a couple of Publishers soon. We use some Latin, as preserved from the earlier material. Most of the invocations are done in Italian, but we spea English for the majority of the ritual gathering. We also have another language from the oldest material, it does not have a name, but we refer to it as "the tongue of the Moon". Most li ely related to ancient Etruscan, and may have a connection to Enochian as well. It only appears in a few of the old rituals. Mine is the only boo in the Family which contains English
1965 (My mothers was mostly Italian, Latin and Tongue of the Moon). You as ed about having to be of Italian blood, to best wor this System. I do not require it, but the old family members do have a hangup about "being of the blood". I have initiated many non-Italians, and they do quite well in the System. I thin that magically spea ing, practicing a System to which you have genetic roots, does bring about a stronger current response. But that is simply my experience, and may not be true for everyone. So my answer is no, you do not need to be Italian in the Aridian System. Also forgot to reply to your question about being related to those early clans. The answer is yes (at least that's what the family lore has to say). I come from a very old line of witches in the Naples area of Italy. We trace our Tradition bac to the 14th Century where it connects with the Alban Hills region of Nemi (being descended from those covens which The Holy Strega founded at that time). She, herself, was a Tuscan witch and taught her Tradition which went bac to pre-Christian times. So, in that respect, I say that my ancestors invented the worship of Diana at Nemi. Yes, my friend, I am the Raven to whom you refer. You have obviously read (or heard of) one of my boo s. Perhaps you have read "The Boo of the Holy Strega", or "The teachings of the Holy Strega". You as ed about the "Moon Shadow" mentioned in my boo . Well, there are two opinions of what may have happened there. One is that a Solar eclipse had ta en place, another that something of an inner experience had manifested. No one in any of the Triad Clans can say for sure. Whatever happened, Aradia too it as a divine sign for the mission she then undertoo . Hereditary witches (at least of my family line in Italy) have ept a written boo . Many Hereditary Clans were connected to Nobility during the Middle Ages. This gave them not only sanctuary, but education in reading and writing. Many Italian Courts of Royalty ept astrologers and local wisemen/ wisewomen. The persecution of witches in Italy began about 100 years later than anywhere else in Europe, and was almost entirely focused on organized group practices. The local village witch was usually tolerated because of his/her healing abilities, and so forth. My family line goes bac five generations to the Tavani Family, who were Nobility of the Kingdom of Naples. According to our Elders, early witches ept a runic script on animal hide. In time this evolved to parchment, and so on. The runic script still survives, but has been replaced
1966 by the common arabic alphabet (at least in the case of non-magical info). ----------
SEA SPELLS Witches have long used the powers and forces within the sea, for the purpose of magic. The Sea is so deeply connected to the cycles of the Moon, that the aspect of Sea Magic cannot be overloo ed. Janarric witches, in the central coastal region of Italy, long ago devised a system of symbols which they used in the casting of spells. These symbols were placed upon sea shells, in a circular manner around the edge of the shell. The shell was then set near the water, at the appropriate Tide (lunar phase), so that the Sea Powers would receive the spell, and grant it success. Many times, offerings were left upon the shore, for the deities, to invo e Their favor. These offerings included white flowers, pearls, white pebbles, etc. I cannot reproduce the old symbols here, but any symbolic symbol which reflects your wish should wor : The Spell of the Shell To perform this spell, you must find a suitable shell in shallow water. Ta e the shell and dry it thoroughly. Next, place a symbol of your desire upon the surface of the shell. The symbol must be made with a substance which will easily wash off in water. Then, place the shell upon the shore, so that the Tide will bring waves across the shell. Ta e care to note the phase of the Moon (waxing moon for the gain of something, waning for the dissolving of something). When the shell is in place, draw a triangle in the sand, enclosing the shell completely. The symbol upon the shell must be facing upwards (toward the Moon). Meaningful words, or phrases, may be placed upon the shell also, or simply written in the sand (inside the triangle). Finally, give the words of enchantment: (toward the moon) "Goddess of Moon, Earth, and the Sea, each wish in Thy name must come to be. Powers and Forces which Tides do ma e, now summon Thy waves, my spell to ta e " Leave the area now, and the spell is set. Once the waves come, then your wish will be ta en out to the Old Ones. It will usually ta e about 7 days for a Lunar spell to begin to manifest, but can ta e as long as 28 days. This type of magic is what we call "little wor s", and belongs to the fol magic level of Witchcraft. There are, of course, much more involved spells, and such. But, I do love the simplistic beauty of a spell li e this. The Spell of the Arrow
1967 This is a very old spell, which incorporates symbols which are placed along the shaft of an arrow. Traditionally this was performed on the shore of a la e, or other calm body of water (such as a Bay). It was necessary to be able to see the "path of the Moon" in the water. This "path" is the reflection of the moon, stretched along the surface of the water. To perform this spell, you must ta e a new arrow and place the symbols of your wish/desire along its shaft. Meaningful words or phrases may also be added. When the Moon is full, go to the shore, and face the water. Fix the arrow into your bow and gaze out upon the path of light (which leads to the Moon). Next, spea the words of enchantment, then release the arrow: "Where path of Light, to Moon I see, the powers of the Queen shall be ! Shaft of wood, as shaft of light, earth to moon, does now give flight !" The arrow can either be shot out into the path on the water, or upward towards the Moon. The arrow was sacred to Diana, and was considered to carry special powers and blessings, in this type of spell. This is a fol magic level spell, and spea s of the early Pagan simplicity concerning magic (more of the Shaman roots). My mother used to say that a ceremonial magician must prepare for magic, and wait upon the proper time and setting. But a witch can pic up a twig, anywhere, anytime, and wor a spell of magic. I thought that I would add a couple more basic sea spells, since I still have some room on this post. 1. To gain favor with the Goddess, form your name with white petals upon the shore, so that the tide will carry them out. This is a very old part of the Janarric Initiation ceremony, which ends with the new Initiate performing this, so that he/she is "introduced" to the God & Goddess, through the naming spell. 2. To brea an "evil" spell (or cure an affliction) form 3 connecting towers out of wet sand, near the shore of the sea. Ta e 3 dar shells (or spotted shells) and place a symbol of the thing you wish removed, on each. Use a substance which will wash away in the water. Place one of the shells upon the top of each tower. Then simply sit, and focus on the towers as the waves come and brea them down. In your mind, see the power of the sea destroying the thing which you desire to remove. Well, that should give you a basic idea of the Old Ways of Sea Magic, among the Italian Witches of the Coastal Regions. ---------OF THE FULL MOON RITUAL The old teachings tell us that the light of the full moon carries an astral substance, which effects our Inner Being (including emotions, rhythms, and subconscious activity). The Full Moon represents
1968 the presence of The Goddess, and in ancient times was considered the Goddess Herself. The Holy Strega taught (during the 14th Century) that participation in the Full Moon ritual, brought the people into a concentrated flow of this energy. This saturation of Lunar Emanation could then be directed, allowing it to provide raw energy for magical purposes, along with a personal empowerment which could increase physic (and magical) abilities. In the Aridian Tradition, our ritual is designed to collect and concentrate these energies, in the ways which The Holy Strega taught. It is also a time for the worship of Deity. This is usually a combination of chants, songs, and offerings. The ritual also includes a time in which the initiates are directed on an astral journey, through which the old teachings are experienced. Up to 3 wor s of magic can be performed during the rite, and this can be for the Community at large, or simply for individuals. The ritual concludes with a remembrance of Aradia (a "toast" in her honor) and the celebration of "ca es and wine". Much of the old ways of our Tradition have been handed down from the time of The Holy Strega. She left a teaching which came to be called "The Charge". Even in the Public Domain, such writers as Charles Leland (1890's) and Doreen Valiente (1950's & 60's) recorded elements of this very old teaching. The Charge "Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, when the moon is full, gather then in secret and give worship to She who is the Queen of all witches. Gather into the sacred circle, and secrets that are as yet un nown shall be revealed to you. And you shall be free in mind, body, and spirit. And as a sign that you are truly free, you shall be na ed in your rites. Then shall you sing, dance, feast, and ma e music and love. For such pleasures are the rituals of the Goddess. Be true to your beliefs, and eep to the Old Ways beyond all obstacles. For our Ways are the eys to the Mysteries, and the Essence of the Cycles of Return. In life does the Queen of all witches reveal the nowledge of the Spirit. And from Death does She deliver you unto Peace, and renew you once again. In memory of me, shall you eat ca es of grain, wine, salt, and honey. These shall you shape li e the Moon. Then shall you bless them in my name, and parta e of them within your sacred gatherings. For I am the Spirit of all Witches. Unto all who observe the appointed times, will the Queen of Heaven give power. And you shall now success in love, and have power to bless and to consecrate. And you shall now the tongue of the spirits, obtain nowledge of things which are hidden, and call forth spirits from the Mist. You shall now the Voice of the Wind, and the nowledge of changing forms. To you shall secret signs be revealed, and you shall possess power to heal. Wild beasts shall now you, and cause you no harm. As it was in the Time of our beginning, so is it now, so shall it be".
1969 This is ta en from the Boo of the Holy Strega. Portions of it were written into Charles Leland's wor s (1894) and a version of it was written by Doreen Valiente (1950's-60's), based on the wor s of Leland's study of Italian Witchcraft. Aradia (not to be confused with Charles Leland's distorted version) was born in Italy during the 14th Century and came to be a great Teacher (of The Old Religion). She was responsible for the 14th Century "revival" of Witchcraft, as noted by the Italian Inquisitor Bernardo Rategno in his text TRACTATUS DE STRIGIBUS (written in 1508 A.D.). Here he records that the "witches sect" had begun to expand rapidly, some 150 years prior. Research material published in 1887 records an interesting Legend, which we believe has preserved the story of Aradia : There was once a young woman from the town of Volterrra who "travelled far and wide, teaching and preaching the religion of old times, the religion of Diana, the Queen of the Fairies and of the Moon, the Goddess of the poor and the oppressed...and the fame of her wisdom and beauty went forth over all the land, and people worshipped her, calling her La Bella Pellegrina (the beautiful Pilgrim)". Aradia taught the old pre-Christian Religion of Nature worship, and magic. But above all she taught a Spirituality. Beyond this, she gave hope to peasants whose lives were made miserable in service to the Wealthy. She taught them personal power, and personal value, in an Age when the Church taught them shame and sin, and servitude. Aradia returned their pagan heritage to them, a heritage preserved in secret by courageous Priests and Priestesses of The Old Religion. Today, we call her The Holy Strega... ---------CONCERNING NATURE "Nature is the Great Teacher. In Her are all things revealed. Nature reflects the Higher Ways of Spirit. The Creators established the Laws of Nature so that through them we might come to now the Laws of the Great Ones. Therefore, observe the ways of Nature around you, both great and small. Everything has purpose and reason. Be not confused by its seeming cruelty, for there is a duality in all things. Respect Nature in all ways. Ta e only that which you must, from her, and remember nothing may be ta en except that something be given (in return). This is the Law for all Witches. Know that the wind spea s of the nowledge of the Earth, and the spirit of the indredness of all living things emanates from everywhere. Nature teaches all living things, all that must be nown. She teaches birds to ma e their nests, and animals to hunt, and to survive. She teaches children to crawl, and to wal . She teaches Life.
1970 Once She taught all people of Her ways, but they chose to go their own way. They chose to oppose Her, and to control Her. But for witches there can be no other way than Nature. A witch must live in Harmony with the Forces of Nature". (reprinted from The Boo of the Holy Strega)
CONCERNING THE GODDESS The Goddess is the Life Force, in as much as She is the Fertility in all things. It is through Her activity that we are born, and that seeds push up through the earth, and grow into plants. She moves the God to create through His desire for Her. The Goddess is the Joy of Life, She is the passion to live. Compassion, love, gentleness, and indness are the Essence of Her Spirit. All women carry the Goddess within, in various aspects and degrees. Yet, there is a duality in all things, and the Goddess can manifest as sterility, vengeance, and destruction. She is the Soul of Nature. The Goddess rules the Night, and the Moon is Her sacred symbol. All women are lin ed to Her through the Moon, which influences the flow of blood. The night is the essence of the mystery which all women possess. This is the elusive quality which all women bear, but can never be nown, or touched upon. The desire of men for women, is the desire of God for Goddess. It is the attraction of the Life Force. The Goddess is nown as the Queen of Heaven. She is clothed in the stars, and wears the Moon as a Crown. She is the Earth Mother, clothed in green, and endowed with large breasts which rise as rounded hills rise, beyond the lush green meadows. She is pregnant with the Child of Life, which She bears each year. She is the Virgin Maiden, na ed and beautiful. She is youth and the lust for life. She is the Enchantress, and Temptress. She is all women. The Goddess does not accept live sacrifice, as was nown in ancient times. She is the Goddess of Life, and all living things. She demands respect for Life. If you give offerings in Her honor, then better it be of fruits or grains, or things of beauty (for these things pass life on). The Goddess is the Queen of all witches, who She calls Her Hidden Children. We are Her servants, She is not ours. She gives us Life and receives us in the Afterworld. She teaches us the ways of Nature, and Spirit. She gives us power and magic. She reveals all mysteries, and gives light to the dar ness. And to the Wise, She imparts Her sacred name.
---------CONCERNING THE GOD
1971 The God is nown as the stern and demanding aspect of Divinity. Yet this is only an aspect of His Nature. He is perceived as the Death Force, which Transforms. He is Lord of the Afterworld, who restores and renews the soul, which is prepared for a new life. This is performed through the union of the God and Goddess. Yet, there is a duality in all things, and the God is also Vitality and Strength. He is the Sun, the Lord of Light. He can give Life or Death, through His activity. The God is the desire to create, dwelling in that state prior to creation. Through the attraction of the Goddess, He is moved to create. He is Lord of the Heavens, clothed in the Sun, and bearing a golden rod. He is Lord of the earth, horned li e a stag, and powerful. He is the Lord of the Afterworld, dar and lonely, stern, and Just. For His are the two faces of Janus. Through Him is order established and discipline mastered. He is the inner strength of the individual. He is the essence of strength and defense. Yet, He is also the warrior, and the destroyer. He is Power and Will. All men bear His essence, in various aspects and degrees. He is all men. There is a side of the God, which can be seen by those who desire to love Him. It is a gentleness, a compassion, and an understanding. This comes from His awareness of His Strength and Power. His compassion is born of His understanding of Justice. His nobility can be seen in the soaring of a haw , or in the beauty of a great Stag eeping watch over his herd. The God is sexual desire and virility within the male. He is attraction, sensuality, and sexuality. He is physical nature, just as the Goddess is spiritual nature. In death, He is the comforter, and the renewer. He is the Great Initiator, and Teacher. He rules the Afterworld, and dispels the dar ness with His presence. He is the illuminator, and reveals all that is hidden. He scatters all falsehoods, and establishes Truth.
THE LASA AND THE LARE In the Aridian Tradition, the Lasa are an Elven or Fay Race. They are the spirits of The Old Religion. The Lare (lar-ray) are the spirits of the Witch Clan (a type of ancestral spirit). I would not say that the Lare represent the next level for the Human Soul, but it is possible that one may serve as a Lare (for a time) following the Death experience. According to the Teachings, when our physical bodies die, our soul dwells in the Realm of Luna, while preparing for the next life. During this time, it is possible that the soul may serve the needs of those
1972 souls still dwelling upon the Earth, as one of the Lare. The Teachings tell us that our soul will either be prepared for another physical body, or for a body of Light, depending upon our evolution as a spiritual Being. There are four possible bodies, in which the Soul may exist. The Physical, Lunar, Solar, and Stellar. Each represents a stage of advancement, and corresponds to one of the Four Worlds, which comprise Existence (as we understand it). It is a bit complicated to go into here, but the Lasa are connected to the Witch Clan, and many witches were once of the Lasa Race, prior to being born Human. This is where the "Fairy Godmother" concept originated. It is a remnant of the old teaching, in which the Witch Clans are related to the old Fay Race, and have contact with them through a Fay Guardian (or Fairy Godmother). This is why many witches are born into Witch Clans, with their psychic abilities already functioning (ma es training a great deal easier).
It is one of our Laws, within the Aridian Tradition, that nothing may ever be deleted from any ritual or oral teaching. Material may be added to a ritual, or an oral teaching may be expanded, but nothing of the original may ever be removed. Because situations change with time, the Laws do allow us to add and adapt, as needs be. When loo ing over the material, it is easy to see the different Time Periods, and needs of the people, reflected in the rituals and Teachings. Therefore, when you loo at the Aridian Material, you will see things which reflect the days of hunting, and the days of planting & harvesting. Everything from Hunting Magic, to blessing seeds and fields, still exist in our ritual material. This current Era we live in, will leave information regarding Aids and other concerns of our People, imprinted upon our rituals, down to the Generations which will follow us. Each addition is mar ed with a symbol, so that it is clear what was added, so that a History of the adaptations may be discerned. Because we believe in a living connection with our ancestors, we still perform those aspects of the rituals, which may seem out of place to us. Many of us no longer Hunt or plow fields for planting, or copulate in the fresh furrows to encourage an abundant crop. But these rites are still preserved, and we adapt them to our modern needs. For despite our so-called progress as a Race, our basic needs are still the same: Food, Shelter, Safety, Sex, Family, Love, and Purpose. So, the ritual for an abundant crop is performed for the abundance which our own labors may bring. Fertility rites are performed for our own Family needs, and to return the Essence of Fertility bac into a dying World. Because our World is so overcrowded, many Systems feel that Fertility Rites are obsolete. What they do not understand is that it was part of the ancient rites to help "empower" the soil and the plant & animal Life with the condensed energy of Fertility raised within a Circle of Magic. The personal fertility of the Clan, was
---------PRESERVATION OF THE OLD WAYS
1973 secondary. Unfortunately, many modern groups have removed all of the sexual energy producing aspects from the rituals, and replaced them with symbolic gestures. While this may appeal to the intellect, and ease personal sexual inhibitions, it does not serve Nature. Because of Judaic-Christian condemnations, many modern groups have abandoned the old Ways of the Nature Religion, and profess a non-sexuality regarding this ancient Fertility Cult. In the Aridian Tradition we do not apologize for preserving our Heritage, and we are proud of the differences between us and Judaic-Christian groups. We have adapted the sexual aspects, to our modern society (and modern concerns regarding sexual issues) but they are still quite plainly visible within the ritual material. It is a challenge to preserve the old Traditions, and yet to adapt to modern circumstances, without compromising the integrity of either. ---------"COMMON CAUSE" WITH NATURE My Mother is very Old World, having been raised in a small village near Naples. When I was a child she used to tell me that our People have always performed the Rites which cause the Sun and the Moon to return as they do, and the Seasons to return each year. She used to say that if we were to stop, then the World would die. But, she would add, there will always be at least one person, who will maintain the Ways which give Life to our World. I do not now if she believed this literally, but as an adult now, I truly understand what she was saying, on a metaphysical level. It is the purpose of our yearly rites, to give energy bac into the World. Just as soil is depleted by crop growing, and the fields must be rotated, so too is the etheric substance depleted, which empowers the mechanism of "Lifegiving" on this Planet of ours. For example, at the Summer Solstice, it is part of our ritual to raise an energy field, and to "impregnate" it with a "formed thought". Once this "cone of power" is formed, then it is released and directed into the "Bound Ether" of our Community. The cone can be charged to disperse pollution in the air, or to rid the "Community Atmosphere" of negativity (crimes, gangs, rapes, etc.) or to replace lost fertility within the soil, and so on. In this way, we join in the dance of Nature, and ma e Common Cause with Her efforts to maintain lifegiving energies. Each of the eight rites of the year, serve a similar purpose, and contribute to that which is appropriate at any giving Season of the year. The Full Moon rituals, are li ewise times of renewal. There is an occult property to Moonlight itself, and if properly drawn, condensed, impregnated, and directed, it too can be used to give Life bac into the World. Another purpose for the Rite of the Full Moon is to empower us, as witches. Moonlight can be used to increase psychic ability, and to recharge the power centers of an individual. It is from Moonlight, that we as witches, draw our power. Science is beginning to catch up a bit now, with the ancient nowledge of Witches, and is ta ing a loo at the effects of the Moon
1974 upon us, and upon our World. Soon, I thin , Science will begin to see that the Occult Teachings of the Craft, are a Metaphysical Science as valid as Physical Science. The "bound ether" of our Planet is what Eastern Mystics call "A asha" (wherein you have the A ashic Records). There is also the microcosm of the bound ether of a Community, such as a City or Village. It is the energy "atmosphere" which is formed by the Collective Consciousness, of the people who live there. All places possess this bound Ether, even Bars and Nightclubs, etc. You can "feel" it when you enter in. It effects the people who come into contact with it, and over long periods of time, can change the way they loo at things. It is the bound ether of a place which holds the images, which psychics can perceive about that place. It is part of the wor we do, as Witches, to cleanse this Ether of negative thought-forms. Witches have always been the local healers, not only of the people there, but also of the places themselves. Ritual Magic can change the "vibration" of the bound ether, and thus change it's "feel", and thus it's effect.
---------TOOLS & PARAPHERNALIA OF LA VECCHIA The oldest tool of Italian Witchcraft is the Moon Bowl. This is a large shell, used in conjunction with nine small shells, as a tool of Invocation. I have spo en of this on other notes. The next tool to be used was the Wand, which we associate with the element of air. This is because the branches of a tree stretch up into the s y, and birds nest in them. The next tool after this was the pentacle. It was originally an oval roc , thin and smooth, usually obtained from the coastline where it had been reformed by the Ocean waves. Later this was made of clay, and mar ed with a five pointed, upright, star. This tool represents earth, since it was ta en from the soil. Following this was the ritual dagger, which we call the Spirit Blade. This dagger is associated with the element of fire, from which it's metal was forged. Last in the line of the older tools, was the Chalice, which was originally a gourd. This tool represents the element of water. From the time of the Middle Ages came the more modern of the tools, which are the Spirit Bowl, and the Sword. The spirit bowl actually evolved out of the Moon Bowl, and is used more frequently than it's predecessor. It contains a liquid which burns a blue flame, and is used to represent the presence of Deity within the Ritual Circle. The Sword is a tool of the Guardian, but is sometimes used by the High Priest. The proper ritual circle of the Aridian Tradition measures nine paces in all directions, from the center of circle. Directly on the center point, the altar is placed, and arranged in orientation to the North. We use a blac altar cloth, and we wear blac hooded robes. Blac is used for two reasons. On a Metaphysical level, blac absorbs light and therefore we draw light into ourselves, and retain it. The second reason is that it is easier to hide at night when you are all in blac . During the time of the Inquisition, at the first sign of
1975 danger, witches would extinguish all lights, pull up their hoods, draw their hands into the large sleeves of their robes, and seemingly "vanish" right before the eyes of the Christian spies. The Broomstic is rarely used in the Aridian Tradition, but does appear at the "Handfasting" Ceremony, and certain rites of purification. It can also serve as a symbol of the goddess, when turned upside down. This is done when there are too few women to ta e up all of the ritual actors needed for the Ceremony. The S ull & Cross bones are another ancient tool, rarely used now, but once symbolized the God, in the same manner as the Broom was employed for the Goddess. These things remain written in the ritual material in order to preserve our Heritage (nothing is forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten). When you go bac far enough into our History, as a Race, you will find Human Sacrifice. This was replaced by Animal Sacrifice, which itself was later replaced by Plant Sacrifice. However you wish to view that, it is simply the story of the Human Race. Remnants of the Plant Sacrifice can still be found in such things as the eating of Ca es, and drin ing of Wine, at the close of Ritual. The Slain God is still consumed as this sacred meal to this very day. This is not unli e the Christian tradition of the Communion Wafer. The written material of La Vecchia is recorded in a Boo , which we call, THE BOOK OF WAYS. It is divided into three sections: Ways, Calls, and Magic. "Ways" contains all of the ritual instructions, laws, and Community Rites such as the Blessings of a Child, Marriage Rite, Ceremony for the Dead, Rites of Initiation, and so on. "Ways" also contains a record of our People, and the teachings concerning our practices, as well as material concerning the Goddess and the God. "Calls" contains all of the chants, invocations, hand gestures, ritual postures, face painting designs of the Clan, and other "secret signs". "Magic" contains all of the spells, wor s for Magic, herbal lore, magical correspondences, healing nowledge, potions, recipes for oil and incense, and so forth. Each initiate is required to copy from the Boo of Ways, those portions which pertain to her or his degree of Initiation. This is overseen by the Initiator, because the Boo of Ways is divided up into separate Degree Knowledge. In the First Degree, a member will begin to acquire their ritual set of tools. The only things which they receive at their initiation are a colored length of cord, symbolizing their degree, a symbol representing their degree, and the mar of the Clan which is painted upon their body. Each degree has a different colored cord, which is lin ed to the Mythos of the Clan. The cord itself, in part, is a remnant of the bonds which once held the Sacrificial King, of the Slain God Mythos. Each degree also has a hand gesture of identification. There is also a hand gesture which identifies you as a witch. These come from the time of the Inquisition. ---------RAMBLINGS ON THE ARIDIAN TRADITION
1976 In the Aridian Tradition, we begin the new year with the ritual of Shadowfest (Oct. 31). The calendar which we use today, is off by a few days from the old calendar, so I am using the dates most commonly associated with the rites of Treguenda. This is the time of Shadows, of beginnings lur ing in the mists of pro-creation. The wheel of the year starts here, and moves on through the remaining seven Treguenda. We divide the year up into a period of "rule" by both the High Priestess and the High Priest, who represent their respective Deity counterparts. The High Priest "rules" from Oct. 31st until May 1st. Then he passes the "power" on to the High Priestess who rules from May 1st until Oct. 31st. These periods we call the "God Months" and the "Goddess Months". During the God Months we wear hooded robes within the Circle. During the Goddess Months we are "na ed in our rites". Each of the Treguenda are mar ed by a Myth, which is acted out in ritual drama, during the rite. At Shadowfest, the Legend of the Descent is performed. This is balanced at the Spring Equinox, when the Legend of the Ascent is performed. Our Full Moon Ceremonies are the same throughout the year, regardless of whether it is a Goddess Month, or a God Month. The only difference would be the wearing of a robe, or being nude (or S yclad as Wiccans say), which IS determined by the Season. In the Aridian Tradition we perceive the Goddess and the God, to be equal (yet different) aspects of the One Great Spirit. We believe in Harmony, and do not exalt one above the other. We have three stages, or degrees of learning. Each requires the mastery of certain aspects of The Old Religion, and the copying of material from the Boo of Ways. We do not have the Wiccan "year and a day" aspect, but watch our initiates, and judge when they are ready to advance. An initiate may come forward on their own, and request to be considered for advancement, and then will be tested to see if he or she has met the conditions of advance-men. We have found that some people are ready in a year, and others are not. But, each person is given an outline of what they must do to complete their Degree. When this is accomplished, then we sit down with them, and ma e a decision. ---------THE BENANDANTI There is an interesting boo , written by an Italian Professor (Medieval Italian History) named Carlo Ginzburg, the title of which is NIGHT BATTLES (available in English). Based on official Inquisition archives from the 16th & 17th centuries, this is a unique study of an isolated Italian peasant culture deeply rooted in early European Fertility Cults. It deals with a group of witches who called themselves the Benandanti (good wal ers). On four ritual occasions of the year, they battled with the Malandanti (evil wal ers) in a conflict over the Crops. This Cult was first discovered by the Church in 1575. At first the Benandanti insisted that they went out in the service of Christ, but later admitted to being a Witch Cult. One of the Inquisitors recorded the following "confession": " I am a benandante because I go with the others to fight four times a year, that is during the
1977 Ember Days, at night; I go invisibly in spirit and the body remains behind; we go forth in the service of Christ, and the witches of the devil; we fight each other, we with bundles of fennel and they with sorghum stal s...in the fighting that we do, one time we fight over the wheat and all the other grains, another time over livestoc , and at other times over the vineyards. And so, on four occasions we fight over all the fruits of the earth and for those things won by the Benandanti that year there is abundance". It is interesting to note the reference to astral travel and the protection (behind the scenes) of the Crops and Livestoc . In Italy there was a split in the Witch Cult, shortly after the Inquisition began. Most witches went "underground" but some decided to fight the Christians on their own terms. They invo ed the "Devil" of the Christians as a power which the Christians seemed to fear. This was the origin of the Satanic Cult in Italy. This is why many of the symbols, and tools, of Witchcraft and Satanism resemble each other. Because the Church was becoming wealthy over owner of land, and many peasants were serving as farming labor, the Malandanti chose this as their battleground. The Benandanti fought to protect the Crops, which was the only way peasants had of sustaining themselves. If you're interested in this curious sub-cult of Italian Witchcraft, you might want to chec out Ginzburg's NIGHT BATTLES. He also has a boo out now called ECSTASIES, deciphering the witches sabbat. This is an indepth loo at the shamanistic roots of Italian Witchcraft. Remember though, that the record of these things comes from the Inquisition, and you have to be able to loo at what they are saying, from a pagan's viewpoint (in other words, turn everything around, and delete the references to the Devil). ---------THE GOD & GODDESS In the Aridian Tradition we have many goddesses and gods, but there is a major God and Goddess, who are the central focus of the System. La Vecchia is a lunar Cult, and as such it is only natural that the Goddess is divided up into four aspects, one for each phase of the Moon. Thus we have the Chaste Maiden (new moon), the Temptress/Enchantress (first quarter moon), the Mother (Full Moon) and the Crone (last quarter moon). The Dianic Tradition did away with the Temptress aspect because of it's association with men, and from this arose the Triad aspects of the Goddess, common today among Wiccan Systems. The Temptress is simply that stage between Maiden and Mother, in which a women becomes aware of her influence over men, and her "power" to draw them into acts of pro-creation. Without the Temptress, there would be no Mother. The God is also divided into aspects, of which there are three. He is the Horned One, the Hooded One, and the Old One. These aspects actually preserve the story of the evolution of The Old Religion, from the Hunter Gatherer Era into the Agricultural Community Era. The Horned One is the Stag God of the Forest. He comes from the time of the Hunter. The Hooded One is the Green Man (he who
1978 is hooded-in-the-green). He comes from the time in which Human ind was learning to grow crops, and came to rely less and less upon wild beasts for food. The Hooded One eventually replaced the Horned One, as the symbol of the Slain God. Because he came after the Stag God, we say that the Hooded One is the son of the Stag God. As Humans matured in their spirituality, they eventually came to view the God in a more Human Image, and thus emerged the Old One concept (Deity in Human Form). The Stag God is the consort of the Temptress, for he is the base sexual nature (among other things). In his domesticated form he is the goat (and from this mythos, arose the Christian idea that witches copulated with goats) The Hooded One is the Consort of the Mother, as he represents the seed, which is planted in the Goddess, and he is the ripe pod, bearer of the seeds. The Old One is the consort of the Crone (symbols of wisdom and maturity). The Chaste Maiden has no Consort (and therefore IS Chaste). This is an aspect of the Aridian Tradition which I did not intend to go into, when I first decided to post notes. I usually spea of the Clan Aspects of the Goddess: Fana, Jana, and Tana. And of the God as : Faunus, Janus, and Tanus. These were the names which the Triad Clans had chosen as their respective God and Goddess Images, within their Mystery Tradition (Earth, Lunar and Stellar). The names which Aradia used in the 14th Century were Diana and Dianus. When the Clans were forced to scatter during the time of the Inquisition, they chose these other names of the Deities who were generally connected with the Mystery Tradition which the respective Clan was see ing to preserve. To further confuse you, it might be of interest to note that, in the Aridian Tradition, the waxing Year is represented by the Stag God, and the Waning Year is represented by the Wolf God. The Stag god is called Cern/Kern (no, not Herne, different Land and different Mythos) and the Wolf God is called Lupercus. When viewed as a whole, the Tradition appears to be more closely lin ed with Etruscan influences, than with anything else. The Roman influence is clearly visible as well. As to Gree influence, there is the classical myth of Orestes and Iphigenia. According to this, Orestes fled Greece with his sister, after having been accused of the murder of a provincial King. Iphigenia had been a Priestess of Artemis/Diana, and together with Orestes established a Grove at Nemi Italy, in honor of the Goddess. Since we now that myths generally contain a seed of truth, we must consider a Gree contact, at the very least. Aradia herself was a Tuscan witch, and brought the Tradition south with her, to the Alban Hills region of Nemi. Whether she brought it "home" to Nemi, or encountered a indred Cult worship there, I suppose could ma e an interesting debate. There is nothing in our Family Lore to suggest that it came from outside of Italy, however. It seems to have always been the belief, in our Tradition, that our roots are deeply Tuscan. Legend says that our Clans were once in central and southern Italy as well, but had originally come from Northern Italy.
1979 Essentially, from what my own research has brought to light, I feel that the strongest current flows bac to Etruscan times. For example, the oldest name of the Goddess in our Tradition is Uni, and the oldest God name is Tagni. These are clearly Etruscan names. Also, the Stag God and the Wolf God are central figures in the Aridian Tradition and Etruscan vase paintings portray a Goddess holding up a Stag and a Wolf, one in each hand. We believe this portrays part of our Mythos. ---------TANA & TANUS (reprinted from THE BOOK OF THE HOLY STREGA) " Tana (Tah-nah) is the sacred name of the Great Goddess, She who is all Goddesses. Upon the earth She is nown as Fana, in the heavens She is Jana (the Moon), and in the Universe She is Tana (containing all things). La es, hills, streams and beaches are sacred places to Tana. Her sacred animals are dogs, owls, and cats. Tana is all that is Feminine. She is total Beauty and Love. She is the Divine Lover, Enchantress, Temptress, Mother, and Crone. Tanus (Tah-nuss) is the Great God, who is all Gods. On the earth, he is Fanus, in the heavens he is Janus (the sun) and in the Universe he is Tanus. All mountains are sacred to Him. His sacred animals are horses, wolves, woodpec ers, and ravens. Tanus is all that is masculine. He is Strength and Will. He is the power of Fertility (shared with Tana) and the desire behind all of Creation. Tana is the balance to Tanus, and He is the balance to her. Without Tana, the God would be a judge without compassion. He would be stern without understanding. He would control without loving. Without Tanus, the Goddess would have compassion without direction, understanding without foundation, and love without form. The God & Goddess complete each other, and together they are the Source of All Things ". These teachings, which appeared in The Boo of the Holy Strega, are meant to reflect the concept of Deity, as One Source (The Great Spirit) separated into masculine and feminine polarities. Each aspect is then further bro en down into base qualities or aspects (appearing as lesser gods and goddesses). To the ancients it made more sense to personify the concept of Deity into Beings, similar to Humans, but greater in power, and immortal. ---------HERBS OF ITALIAN WITCHCRAFT Though there are many different herbs employed in the religious, and magical, aspects of La Vecchia, there are a few which hold special importance. These are the herbs called: Rue, Fennel, Pennyroyal, and
1980 Rosemary. There is an old Italian Witch Charm, called the Cimaruta (meaning a sprig of rue) which was once worn as a sign of membership in the Witch Cult. There is a picture of one in Doreen Valiente's boo (AN ABC OF WITCHCRAFT & PRESENT). Rue is so deeply connected to Witchlore, that it appears in many different aspects of the Tradition. It is a healing plant, and a magical plant. Rue bears yellow flowers in the shape of a pentagram, against a lush green foliage. It is a symbol of the God in the mythos/mysteries and appears in several of the Treguenda. Fennel is a plant associated with protection. It's long stal s (up to six or seven feet) were used as ritual staffs, at such rites as mid-summer, to "fight off" evil and protect the Crops from spirits of destruction. In ritual drama, witches would battle evil spirits in a war to ensure a bountiful crop. Pennyroyal has been used as an herb of initiation, even in the early public Roman Tradition. It is one of the ingredients in the oil of Initiation, used in the Aridian Tradition. Rosemary was used in the early Marriage Rites, and also in the Rites for the Dead. It was associated with Love and with Death. It is also used in an oil employed in Pastlife Recall, as rosemary is also called the Herb of Memory. Please note that I am using the word "was" to denote it's connection with the Past, and not to imply that those associations are no longer practiced, because they are indeed. Pennyroyal and sage are among your best choices for "purification of the spirit", although in some Systems one might suggest Hyssop or Angelica. There are several ways to employ pennyroyal and sage, for purification. Usually the setting is smo ed with a small bundle of sage, or you may simply drop some dried sage upon a hot charcoal bloc . The pennyroyal can be used either as a tea, or some leaves can be placed in a bowl of hot water, or added to a bath. It is also useful when dran with wine. Herbs of the mint family are great herbs of purification, for the spirit. Physical purification of the body, is best done with Comfrey and Sassafras (avoid long term use of these herbs as a tea, as they can be hard on the liver and other organs, if used often). There are many other good herbs which serve as tonics and cleansers, and you may want to consult a good herbal boo . I li e A MODERN HERBAL by Mrs. M. Grieve and MASTERING HERBALISM by Paul Huson. If you want to try the pennyroyal and sage, then use them together, that is, at the same setting. Use the sage as a smo e of purification (just a few dry leaves at a time). The pennyroyal can be added to your bath, as you sit in the hot water, and relax. In this case, you would use fresh leaves, cut up into halves (six leaves for solar associations, nine leaves for lunar). Or you may simply wish to add an extract of pennyroyal to some wine, in a ceremonial setting (in which case you would add three drops). The System which you follow would, of course, provide the manner in which you would proceed with the cleansing, in a "religious" sense. Herbs in Magic and Ritual Today there are many boo s which will tell you that if you put a sprig of this in your shoe, or a bag of that under your pillow, then
1981 such & such will happen. This is what many popular authors will tell you is an herbal spell, but it is actually fol magic/superstition (and much of it is nonsense). Herbs wor in magic and ritual for a variety of reasons, based upon Occult concepts or physical properties. Ancient witches started with the seed and wor ed with the plant as it grew. The plant was established and raised as a type of "familiar spirit". In the Italian Tradition, there is a teaching that all things have within them a "numen". A numen is a consciousness, or power, dwelling within an object. You might say that it is the divine spar of the Creators within their Creations. Some Systems refer to this as "Mana". Numen can be amplified within an object through magic, and the numen spirit can be "contacted", and enlisted in the art of spell casting, etc. This is why ancient Grimoires were very specific concerning the planting and harvesting of herbs, and other plants. Once dealt with properly, the power of the numen can be carried along in the various parts of the plant. This empowers the herb. The ancients also taught that plants were under the power of certain planets, and set up a table of correspondences. In the art of magic, it is clear that there are energy imprints left within the electromagnetic ma e-up of all living organisms, caused by emanations from the Moon, and the planets of our solar system. Some plants such as the Sunflower and the Moonflower, were given their associations to their respect planetary bodies due to the fact that they physically change position, as they "follow" the Sunlight/Moonlight with a turning of their flowers. Other plants were associated with Venus due to their heart shaped leaves; Mars due to their chemical natures (peppers, tobacco, etc), and so on. Herbs are also employed for their natural drug properties, in magic and ritual. Some cause magical states of consciousness either through ingestion or inhalation, and this can aid in the casting or spells, or in other wor s of magic. Various herbs were associated with a certain Goddess, God, or Spirit. These herbs were then offered up as incense to "attract" them to the wor at hand. The ancients taught that prayers or requests were carried upon the smo e of the incense. So what better way to be "heard" by the gods, than to send your words upward upon the scent of their favorite plant! Plants also became associated with the gods, or with mythic heroes/heroines, through their appearance in the Myths. In most cases the plant somehow resembled the nature of the Character in the Myth, and later came to represent that character in ritual settings. This is typical of various grains, evergreens, and so forth. All having something of the nature of the Goddess, God, or Spirit concerned. There is a boo out called CELEBRATING ITALY by Carol Field which is actually a coo boo , but contains a lot of info on Seasonal Festival meals, and religious associations of various foods. It's a great boo .
1982 Certain grains appear in various meals, and do have connections with old Witch Lore. One of the blessings of the meal at a Treguenda, addresses this: "Blessings upon this meal, which is as our own body. For without this, we ourselves would perish from this world. Blessings upon the grain, who as seed went into the earth where deep secrets hide. And there did dance with the elements, and spring forth as flowered plant, concealing secrets strange. When you were in the ear of grain, spirits of the field came to cast their light upon you, and aid you in your growth....thus through you I shall be touched by that same Race, and the mysteries hidden within you, I shall obtain, even unto the last of these grains..." ---------THE OLD RELIGION The Old Religion is a pre-Christian European Religion, which is founded upon reverence for Nature, and the worship of Deity through ritual observation of the Seasons, and the phases of the Moon. It is not a worship of these things, but a worship of Deity through these things. It is believed that through a continuous participation in the rituals of the year, that a person becomes "attuned" to the energies of Nature, and begins to merge with Her (so that Her Ways, become our Ways). It is through this attunement, that one gains certain abilities, such as Divinatory s ills, psychic awareness, and so on. People who practice this religion refer to themselves as Witches, Wiccans, or Pagans. It is through this growing awareness, as one practices the Old Ways, that a special rapport begins to develop between the practitioner, and his or her own understanding of Deity. For Witches, this Deity is conceived of as a Goddess and a God (the Feminine & Masculine aspects of the Source of All Things). The ritual celebrations consist of 8 yearly Festivals, as well as monthly gatherings at the time of the Full Moon. These 8 rituals are often referred to as the Wheel of the Year. The purpose of the Religion is to teach the soul how to evolve to a higher realm, by revealing the Ways of Nature. Since Nature is a reflection of the Spiritual Laws which established it, a study of its secrets can enlighten the soul, and thus prepare it for a higher existence (freeing it from the cycle of reincarnation). The purpose of the Old Religion is also to give due worship to the Great Spirit, to ensure the Fertility of the Earth, and to create & maintain Balance and Harmony, within the bound Ether of this physical dimension. The Old Religion teaches personal power and personal empowerment. It also teaches personal responsibility, and reveals that everything is connected together. It is li e a web, the threads of which are joined together. Any vibration causes a reaction, felt by every other thread.
1983 It is from this Law of Cause and Effect, Action and Reaction, that the code of Ethics for witches arise. ---------CODE OF ETHICS A Witch lives by a code of ethics which is built upon the Laws of Nature. Our behavior is not regulated by a fear of what awaits us in the Afterlife, but a respect for what awaits us in this Life. Everything, and everyone, is connected. What we do to one another, and to our World, we do to ourselves. The Holy Strega spo e of this when she said : " Every act which you perform will draw to itself three times the nature of the act. Such is the Law. This affects not only the acts of each day, but reaches into the Future as well. Here the Law establishes those debts which must be paid. Therefore, consider well your actions. Nothing escapes the Law, nor is hidden from it. The Law does not punish or reward. It only returns the intent of each action to its origin. If you step off from a high place, you will fall, and this is consistent. There is no intent, there is nothing good or evil. It may be good to leap upon your enemy from a high place, and surprise him, or it may be bad to fall and be injured. But the nature of the descent itself is only a Law. So too is the nature of the Law of Return". This teaching is similar to the Wiccan Rede of "and as it harm none, do as thou wilt". The Rede is often misunderstood to mean do whatever you want, as long as you don't harm anyone in the meantime. This is not what it is addressing. It is addressing the issue that each person must see out their True Will (the Nature of their Higher Self). By doing so, one is attuned to the "Spiritual Plan" which has been established for them (or by them, depending upon your view). Once so attuned, no one can be harmed by your actions, because you are following a Spiritual Plan, of which they themselves are also a part. This is the understanding of the connectiveness of all things, and of the Law of Return (and Intent). We were not meant to simply wander about doing whatever seems right, without regard to a goal, and the impact of that goal. We have a responsibility to ourselves, and to each other. Dear Raven, I agree entirely with your interpretation of the Witches' Rede. It's a point I have been trying to ma e in many notes to this board."An it harm none" is simply a warning preface, not a "Thou shalt not," as many seem to interpret it. Whereas "Do what you will" is a positive injunction: Thou SHALT do what thou wilt. Some people on the board say we are right to over-emphasize "harming none" because of the many novices who want to cast love or revenge spells and
1984 might not understand the concept of True Will. I say that's all the more reason to start them early wor ing on understanding and discovering their True Wills. I've been a Pagan for 20 years, and still can't say I fully understand the concept of True Will. By the way, does your use of the term "True Will" come ultimately from Crowley? Obviously the concept itself pre-dates him by centuries, but what about the actual term?Jana Dear Jana -- I've been thin ing about what "do what thou will" really means for some time now. When I first heard the rede I assumed it meant, li e a lot of people, that it means do whatever you want as long as it harms none. But after reading your interpretation as "do what thou Will" meaning to follow one's True Will and after other readings that were not necessarily Pagan, I see True Will as meaning to live in tune with one's inner self regardless of what society, parents and religion expects of one. Sort of li e "follow your bliss", though that phrase is over wor ed these days. Discovering one's True Will is difficult because you have to peel through all the layers of socialization. I don't mean that one has to live outside the bounds of society, but one has to go one's own way AND still be a socially responsible person. Another catch phrase is "march to the beat of a different drum". I'm still wor ing this meaning out so these thoughts may not be fully formed yet. Brenda Dear Jana, Whenever I come across this phrase "True Will", I do thin of Crowley. Definitely did when I saw Gardner's use of it (he had a fairly liberal sprin ling of Crowley in his Wicca stew). The term as I use it, does originate with Crowley. It's easier, and everyone is using it, so it's a common point of reference. But the concept is much older than Crowley, of course, and it's not exactly the same concept as his. I tend to avoid phrases and terms from my Tradition (for the most part), on this board, because it would ta e up too much time and space, just getting it all clear. Would much rather spend the time getting the info out, and trying to preserve some of the Old Teachings. I feel a bit li e Johnny Appleseed..... Blessings to you - Raven ---------NATURE AS THE TEACHER Nature is considered to be the Great Teacher. The Ancients taught that the "Creators" placed into the fabric of Creation, a reflection
1985 of that which created it. Therefore, the laws of Nature are reflections of Divine Laws or Principles, which operate in a dimension behind and above those of physical Nature. Thus, the Ancients coined the phrase "as above, so below". This means that that which is below, is (in essence) li e that which is above. Studying the Ways of Nature gives us a glimpse (crude though it may be) of the Divine Ways, and from these we see the returning of the Seasons (reincarnation) and the laws of Cause & Effect (Karma) concerning the use (and misuse) of the Earth's land, air, resources, and living creatures. The ways of the "Gods" are imprinted upon the Ways of Nature. Understanding Nature, allows one to begin to understand the Creators. One of the reasons for the Seasonal Rituals is to saturate us, and harmonize us, with the focused Essence of Nature at these appointed times. Properly cast ritual circles serve to attract and condense these energies, so that we are "bathed" in them. The more that we gather at these times of Nature's energy flow, the more we become li e Nature, and when we become more li e "Her", it is easier to understand "Her", and "Her " Ways. This is why the Ways of the Old Religion are fashioned according to the Ways of Nature. Everything from the ritual circle construction, to the way we move within it, to the way in which we create magic (cast spells, etc) are all modelled after the principles of Nature. This is where the term Occult Sciences comes from. It is not hocus-pocus, it is Metaphysical Science. This is why it is also quite difficult to simply ma e something up, and call it a Tradition (although this is exactly what many people do). ---------THE ART OF MAGIC One of the major attractions to Witchcraft, for the beginner, is often the practice of Magic. Just as there are many misconceptions about Witchcraft, there are also many concerning the art of Magic (or Magic itself). True magic is the ability to bring about the manifestation of personal (or Group) desire. This is accomplished by ones ability to collect, focus, and direct enough "raw" energy with which to create the desired manifestation. There are many different ways of wor ing magic, and many different aspects of magic. Basically spea ing, however, most types of magic will fall into one of two methods, and these are called "raised" or "drawn". Raised energy, is that which emanates from the body and/or mental sphere, of the person. Drawn energy is that which is attracted in from other Realms by ritual means. This includes wor ings which involve gods and/or spirits. Magic may also fall into the realms of "blac magic" which is negative, and "white magic" which is positive. There is also a type referred to as "Gray Magic" which is a blend of the two. Witches understand the laws of Nature and of Karma, and therefore do not practice blac magic. It is an old Teaching that the type of energy which we send out, will
1986 come bac upon us "times three". So there is a need for clear thin ing when it comes to employing a wor of Magic. Many people thin that Magic has no basis in scientific fact. This is not correct, for there are physical reasons why magic does indeed "wor ". These reasons are based upon energy fields and various currents existing around the Earth. Energy currents are caused by the rotation of the Earth, and the gravitational forces of the Sun and the Moon, and other celestial bodies. The actual spinning of the Earth creates electrical magnetic currents within our bound Atmosphere. As the Earth moves around the Sun, stress is created on the earth by the sun's gravity. This stress causes vibrational currents in our atmosphere as well. Positive currents flow from east to west across our planet. There are also seasonal tides which are based on fluctuations of the electrical magnetic current around the earth, in accordance with the position of the Sun and the Earth. Positive (electrical) Tides flow from late March to late September. Negative (magnetic) Tides flow from late September to late March. The Religious Festivals of The Old Religion mar the pea times of each of these Currents. Generally we can say that Magic is really a matter of Vibrational cause and effect. Essentially, we "disturb" the bound Ether of our Planet, and certain things result. It is the art of Magic to "impregnate" the Ether with our formed desires, and then to direct them to manifest. The major difference is whether the ripple is sent out or brought down. Magic which deals with the invocations of spirits and/or deities incorporates the vibrations theory, as a catalyst. The forces behind Magic are real, being both natural and supernatural. It is the art of getting these forces to wor for you, and not against you, that is the Art of Magic. Ritual magic wor s on the basis of attracting sympathetic energies by means of words (which are vibrations, as addressed in note #1), gestures, and dramatic portrayals; the theory being that the combination of these factors directed by the personal or group "Will", and boosted by the need/desire, will attract sympathetic energies which will cause a "ripple" in the necessary Plane, resulting in Manifestation. Everything which is now a physically created object, was once only a concept. For example, the computer that you are using to access this note, was once merely a visualized image in someone's mind. They had to mentally "form the thought" which was to become your computer. Once visualized, they could then proceed to ta e the steps necessary to cause their "Thought-form" to become a physical object. This is essentially the formula for Magic. The tools and clothing (or lac thereof) used in a ritual setting, serve to trigger or stimulate the participants so that the necessary energies can be raised. The tools which are used in a ritual also act as extensions of the ritualist's "Will Power" and Mental/Psychic abilities. Everything placed into a magical operation, serves to gradually induce a change in Consciousness, within the person, or persons, involved in its performance. Candles, robes, chanting, and the actual setting up of the altar & casting of the circle, all contribute to this evolution of Consciousness, from mundane to magical. This is also one of the reasons for choosing a "Craft" name. This allows a person to become something a bit beyond who they usually are. Plain ol' Suzie Q. may not be
1987 able to perform magic, but once within the ritual circle, Ladyhaw e certainly can... ---------THE ETHERIC WORLDS Aradia originally taught the concept of four "worlds" or Realms of Existence. These were the Physical, Lunar, Solar and Stellar. According to her Teachings, the Physical World was the dwelling place of those spirits/souls who were not prepared to dwell within the Higher Realms. The Lunar World was connected to the Physical, and was a temporary dwelling place which served to revitalize the soul between incarnations. It is interesting to note, that the old legends say that the light of the moon grows as it receives those souls who are departing the physical life (until it is full) and then the light wanes as those souls reincarnate. The Solar World served to also revitalize the soul, but in addition it "forged" a new body for the soul to inhabit. Then the soul could enter into the Higher Realms and abide there. The Stellar World was considered the Final Realm where the soul would come to dwell. This was the "original" Realm from whence we had first come (according to her Teachings). Through the functions of these Four Worlds, the souls "wor their way" up through various levels, as they evolve. In each World a type of body is required, through which the soul can be animated and perform the tas s which are necessary to that realm of existence (thus a physical body for the Physical Plane, an astral body for the Lunar Plane, and so on). ---------DEATH AND THE SOUL According to the old Teachings, the physical body is merely a vehicle, or vessel, which the soul employs to experience the Physical Existence. In some respects, the body may be thought of as a "garment" which the soul wears during its "lifetime" upon the Physical Dimension. In time it wears out, or is damaged beyond repair, and can no longer serve its function. The soul will then pass through the "death" experience, and be freed from the physical vessel, which once "housed" it. The Teachings tell us that the soul remains near the body for three days, as the astral cord gradually dissolves. This "cord" is an energy lin , between the soul and the body (more about this in the next note). In the case of cremation, the soul is freed almost immediately. According to the old Teachings, the soul will then be drawn to that Realm of Existence which is most Harmonious to its general vibration (which is the tonal, or vibration, resonating from the sum of all the experiences through which it has passed).
1988 It is from here, that the Mythos of the Summerland (or Luna, as it is called in the Aridian Tradition) begins. ---------THE ASTRAL BODY Aradia taught that the soul, which dwells within our physical body, has a body of "light" called a spirit body (commonly called an astral body today). The soul can leave the physical body by employing this body of light, and does so every evening, while a person's physical body is asleep. Sometimes a soul will only journey out into the Dream Worlds, and sometimes it will travel out into the Astral Worlds. The soul requires nourishment for its body of light, just as the physical body does, and it is through contact with these other Realms, that the astral body is maintained. The Teachings tell us that the astral body is connected to the physical body by a "silver cord" of etheric material. This cord will always draw the soul bac to the physical body, as long as it remains intact. Once the silver cord is bro en, the soul is freed from the physical body, and cannot dwell within it any longer. The astral body is a duplicate of the physical body, which the soul is using in the Physical Dimension. It is this spirit body which we see in dreams, and in hauntings, and so on. Some Occultists believe that this astral body is what Jesus was using when he wal ed upon the water, was resurrected, and so forth. The consciousness of the personality (you or me) dwelling within the physical body, can be transferred into the astral body, and experience these other Realms, just as we do this Physical Dimension. It is similar to dreaming, except that we are in control of our own actions, and can direct our activities. During the time of the Inquisition, it was extremely dangerous for witches to gather for their Festivals. So the Priestesses and Priests, of the Old Religion, developed an ointment commonly referred to as "Flying Ointment". It contained many Al aloid ingredients such as belladonna, and could "force" an inexperienced witch out of his or her physical body, thus causing astral projection of the spirit body, to ta e place. The Elders of the Coven would then "escort" the neophytes to the "Sabbat". Because of the nature of both the ointment, and the astral dimension, many wild and preposterous stories were recalled by the new witches, of what had ta en place at the Sabbat (if you've ever been so "out of it" that your friends had to tell you what you did at a party, the next day, you can probably relate to what I'm getting at here). This came up from time to time, during the witch trials. The fact that the Inquisitors were not above fabricating a "confession" does not help us sort out the truth of these times, anyway. Therefore, it is hard to say how much was because of the belladonna, and how much was because of the Inquisitors. FROM: ANN MAGILL
1989 I had read about the Body of Light before, but this is the clearest explanation yet. Is so called 'lucid dreaming' a type of astral projection, or is it somewhere in between? FROM: RAVEN GRIMASSI Yes, the Dream World is part of the astral projection experience. Conscious dreaming (dream control) is part of our training in the Aridian Tradition. Many people experience dreams of flying, or dreams which seem quite real, and these are astral-li e experiences. I teach that the Dream World is li e a doorway, or portal, to the Astral Realm. I first teach students to become conscious that they are dreaming, and then to ta e control of the dream. Next they move up to programming the dream (which is great fun). Once they can become Conscious in a dream, and alter the dream as they desire, then they are ready to move out into the Astral Dimensions. In this way, they have some experience with how the astral plane "wor s", and how to cope/behave while exploring this other Realm. This was used a great deal during the time of the Inquisition, as I mentioned in an earlier note. It is still a very important technique. I do not encourage people to simply buy a boo on Astral Projection and go "popping out" into the un nown. If I'm ta ing a trip to another Country, I want to now the customs and laws of that Country (how things wor there) before I simply hop on a Plane and go rushing off into the un nown (not very adventurous for an Aries, am I ?). FROM: ANN MAGILL I seem to remember reading in THE GREAT COSMIC GODDESS that one of the 'crimes' witches were accused of during the Inquisition was dreaming ... Maybe that is one of the reasons that dreams are devalued in modern western culture. I thin it is a great injustice when parents tell their children: "Don't worry. It wasn't real--it was only a dream." It was a real dream, and taught about real problems. To deny it is to deny the child the reality of his or her existence. ---------LUNA, THE SUMMERLAND It was an ancient belief that the Moon was the dwelling place of those souls who had passed from the physical life. Old myths spea of the God, as the Sun, crossing the s y each day and gathering the souls of all who had died during the night. He would then carry them off to
1990 the West, and down into the Underworld. Here they were presented to the Goddess (remember, the moon sets in the west too) who then carried them off to the Afterlife World. Aradia called this Realm, Luna. Today, many Wiccans refer to this concept as the Summerland. Luna is a "place" in which the soul is renewed and revital-ized. It can then become prepared for its next incarnation, or in some cases, for its next "move" up into the Higher Dimensions (when it no longer requires the need for the physical dimension experiences). The Moon is connected to the cycles of Fertility, the Tides, and to menstruation. It is not difficult to see why the ancients then lin ed the Moon to the cycles of Death and rebirth. Old legends spo e of the Moon receiving souls from the physical life, and that the light of the moon swelled with the collective light of their spirit bodies. As the souls returned bac into the World, the light of the Moon began to wane. The old teachings say that in Luna, there is communion with those who have gone before us, and that "plans" are made to be reborn among those who we new before. In a way this also addresses the issue of "Karmic" lin s and connections. The "portal" to the Realm beyond Life, stands at the Western Quarter. This association was established due to the fact that the Sun and the Moon "disappear" in the West, just as we too, in our time, disappear. The association of a body of Light and the Soul, also seem to have originated with this concept, and the non-physical (yet physical) properties of the Sun and the Moon, as "understood" by the Ancient Peoples. The beliefs of a People, have a powerful impact upon the Astral material, of the Astral Dimension. Within the Astral Plane, thoughts ARE things. So, it is here that the Summerland, or Luna, exists. ---------THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR The first thing to note here is that the calendar which you and I use today, is off by several days from the old calendar. Therefore the dates which I am using here are those dates which are commonly associated with the Rites of the year, among Witches, Neo-Wiccans, and Pagans in this current Age. The Aridian Year begins on October 31st and is mar ed by the Treguenda (Sabbat) nown as Shadowfest. In our Mythos this is the time of Shadows, the time of pro-Creation. Hidden within the mists of the Realm of Shadows are the God & Goddess, joining together in a Divine act of pro-Creation, through which All Things shall come to be. From this Season forward until Spring, the God rules the Year. As his representative, the High Priest is given charge and bears the responsibility for organizing the rituals and overseeing the training of new Initiates. During this Season all Initiates are robed within the ritual circle, as a symbol of the time of Shadows. On May 1st (Tana's
1991 Day) the rule of the Year is passed to the Goddess, through her representative the High Priestess. She will then be given charge over the Year, until Shadowfest, when the reign is passed once again. During Her Season all Initiates are nude within the ritual circle. This is a symbol of their Freedom from Slavery, and of the openness of this time of the year. All things are springing forth in Nature, and revealing their natural beauty. Slavery can come in many forms. Some people are slaves to Judaic-Christian morality, and though professing to be Pagan, still hold to the morality of Christianity, and to their inhibitions which rob them of personal empowerment. Following Shadowfest, the year turns to the rite of the Winter Solstice. Here the Goddess gives birth to that which issues forth from the Union of the God & Goddess in the time of Shadows. A new light is born on the Winter Solstice, which will save the World from what seems to be an ever encroaching Dar ness (Winter). The next rite is called Lupercus, and in our Mythos this is the time of puberty for the newborn God. It is a time of purification, and is associated with bonfires and torches. Remnants of the ancient Roman Lupercalia can still be seen in this Rite today. Following Lupercus is the Spring Equinox. This is the time when the Goddess journeys from the Realm of Shadows into the World of Light. The Legend of the Ascent is read and a Mystery Play is performed during the reading. The seeds which will be planted are blessed, as is the earth itself. Next in order is Tana's Day, which is observed on May 1st. This ritual mar s the Courtship of the Goddess and the God. Here the God passes his Reign to the Goddess, in a Drama enacted by the High Priestess & High Priest. It is a ritual of the Celebration of Life and Fertility. Tana's Day is followed by the Summer Solstice, which is a time of magic and renewal. Energy is raised to cleanse and renew the Earth, and to banish evil and negativity from the Community (and the World). After the Summer Solstice comes Cornucopia, which is a Celebration of the coming Harvest, and a time of Plenty. Following the Rite of Cornucopia, comes the Autumn Equinox. This is the time in which the God is slain, and enters into the Afterworld. The Goddess journeys there also to find her lost love, and this is enacted in a Drama Play held during the ritual, in which the Legend of the Descent is read (just as was done with the Legend of the Ascent in the Spring Equinox). The wheel of the year has then turned completely, as the Season then leads bac into Shadowfest, on October 31st. Here the God and Goddess unite once again, and the Cycle begins anew. The year is also divided up into the times of Waxing and Waning. The Waxing Year is associated with the Stag God, and the Waning Year is associated with the Wolf God. The common image of the Goat God, is merely a domesticated version of the Stag God of the Forest. As Humanind began farming, the domesticated animals became more important than the once hunted animals, and the symbolism began to change. Pan (or Faunus) is simply the Stag God as seen by an Agricultural Com-
1992 munity which valued domesticated animals more than wild animals of the Forest. The Winter months brought on the wolves who preyed upon both domesticated and wild animals. They were seen as symbols of the power of Winter. Their connection with the Stag God of the Forest (the Hunted & the Hunter) lay deep in the memories of early Human ind. Thus the Wolf God came to symbolize the Waning Year and the Stag God came to symbolize the Waxing Year. This is symbolized by the phenomenon of the cycle of regeneration and growth of the stag's antlers. The Stag and the Wolf (as deities) go bac to the days of Antiquity, in Witchcraft. An early Etruscan painting, found upon a vase, depicts a Goddess holding up a Stag and a Wolf, one in each hand. This is no surprise, for Italian Witchcraft originates from Tuscany which is where the Etruscan Civilization once stood. Under ideal circumstances we Celebrate the Equinoxes and Solstices on the exact days on which they occur. Then we calculate the mid-point dates between the Equinoxes and Solstices, and establish the dates for the other 4 Celebrations accordingly. When these times do not wor out then we may elect to Celebrate on the popular Wiccan dates, if those times fall better in the wee . Again, this becomes a practical adaptation for our modern Lifestyle. Our goal, of course, is to adhere to the Old Ways whenever possible. ---------SETTING THE ALTAR In the Aridian Tradition every aspect of our ritual wor is based upon our Mythos. This includes the way in which we set up our ritual circles, and prepare our altar. I thought that I might share this with you, and hope that you may find it of some interest. The original altars were round, being usually a tree stump or a large roc . Today many of us use a small table. I have a large wooden spool, used by Utility companies for wrapping cables and lines. The set up begins by placing a blac altar cloth over the altar. This represents the "first movement" within Procreation, towards that which came to be. Next we place the Spirit Bowl on the center of the altar. This represents the Divine Nature, which was present at the Center of Creation. Then we place two altar candles upon the altar, one to the left symbolizing the Goddess and one to the right symbolizing the God. These represent Their presence, as They oversee Creation. Next we place the Elemental Bowls, in a pattern which encircles the Spirit Bowl. The Earth Bowl is to the North, Air Bowl to the East, Fire Bowl to the South, and Water Bowl to the West. The altar itself is set in an orientation to true North. The ritual circle is always entered, and left by, the North-East "doorway". The setting of these bowls symbolize the coming together of the Elements themselves, in their part in the Creation. We begin with the Air Bowl, and move cloc wise. The Earth Bowl is placed last. After the bowls have been placed, we lay
1993 out the rituals tools and mundane tools. Each tool is set near the Elemental bowl to which its nature is associated. At this point, the Spirit bowl is filled with the sacred liquid (which burns a blue flame), and the ritual circle would then be cast. The spool is a private altar and it is outside underneath my Mulberry Tree. It is too heavy to transport for any of our gatherings, so we employ an altar that one of our initiates made, when we meet for Treguenda, etc. The elemental bowls are traditionally ceramic. Some of our initiates have gone down to a Restaurant Supply Shop, and bought Japanese tea cups for their elemental bowls. For the Spirit bowl they bought metal ice cream dishes there, and they wor quite nicely. Our Spirit bowls are about the size of a hand, and approximately 3 or 4 inches deep. Regarding a permanent altar, most of us eep a shelf with a God and Goddess Statue on it, along with a small bud vase, incense holder, and a votive candle. Our old temple setting for one of our Groves had a permanent circle (a rope circle fastened to the floor) and a standing altar. But even with this, the altar must be set up as I stated in the first note, because the placement of those items is part of each ritual. So, the altar itself is simply a support for those items, which through their role in the Mythic Drama (the placement) ma e it a Sacred Space. The permanent altar which I described as the "shelf style", is more of a devotional altar as opposed to a ritual altar. Dear Raven, The shelf altar you describe would be considered more of a shrine than an altar, right? Most people, including me, combine the two functions in a personal altar. I have a devotional display which I eep on my altar all the time; I simply change the arrangement somewhat when I want to do a ritual. It has the advantage of focusing all my spiritual energy on one altar, while the Aridian system has the advantage of ma ing the setting of the altar an integral part of the creation of magical space within the circle. Just this wee I got a new goddess-figure for my altar/shrine: a museum replica of the famous Minoan Sna e Goddess. I got out all my sea shells to go on the altar with her. Jana of the Sea ---------THE ARIDIAN RITUAL CIRCLE In the days of old, our ritual circles were outdoor circles large enough to comfortably contain a small group of worshippers. The old manner of setting the circle was set forth in our Boo of Ways. Here it says that the ritual circle must be set near running water, and placed before a tree (or group of trees). The tree must be a "Mother Tree", and cannot be twisted or deformed in any way. A Mother Tree is
1994 any tree which is full and round (a Father Tree is tall and narrow by comparison, li e a Pine for example). Most fruit bearing trees are called Mother Trees, along with others such as an Oa Tree. A wooden sta e was then placed into the ground (mar ing the center of the circle) to which a length of cord was attached. An initiate would ta e hold of the cord and pace off nine steps. Another initiate would hold the sta e as the other then attached the free end to a staff. Pulling against the sta ed cord, this person would then trace a circle into the soil, moving cloc wise around the initiate in the center (who was turning the sta e so as not to allow the cord to wrap around it). Thus the circle, once traced out, was nine paces in any direction from the center. Torches were set just within the circle, at each of the directional quarters. An altar was then placed exactly where the sta e had been placed. Stones were set around the traced out line, to clearly mar the circle. Entrance to the ritual circle was only allowed at the North-East quarter (the same being true of any exit from the circle). Once properly established, the circle was then "cast" through the traditional ritual method of the circle trod, complete with invocational calls, gestures, and so forth. Prior to casting the circle, the area was blessed and ritually cleansed, as were all of the initiates. Today we still comply with these requirements. It is easy even indoors, for most homes have a tree or two in the yard and the house is equipped with plumbing (running water). There are magical reasons why a tree had to be present, and why the circle had to be near running water. The Boo of Ways goes into detail about how they are employed, once magic has been performed within the circle. Other aspects have been added to our Ritual Circle over time, and we do a bit more today, than did our Ancestors (but we DO NOT do any less). We must honor the Old Ways, and adhere to them, not leaving anything out. We may add to them, but we cannot subtract. There are times in which we have to be creative though (as when nine paces will ta e you through the Livingroom wall) <G> . It is the intent (or reason) which must be honored, and we do not allow ourselves to become slaves to the "Letter of the Law". So we adapt as necessary for practicing in the setting available. The ritual text, however, cannot be deleted. FROM: B MACCARILLO JR What, pray tell, was the Boo of Ways? This IS different since most traditions were passed down orally. Dear Westwind, The Boo of Ways is similar to what Wiccans call a Boo of Shadows. In my Tradition there is a runic script which has been passed down through the Generations. Oral teachings are also a part of the Tradition, but the majority of our material is written. This is one reason why the
1995 Teachings remained intact through the Dar Ages, when only Nobility or those of the Church were taught to read and to write. This runic script was passed on through the bloodlines, and it is because of this that we have The Boo of Ways today. Oral Teachings are very frail, and it is all too easy to find them changed a bit through the Ages. The script that we use resembles Etruscan, but is still slightly different. Some people see a resemblance to Enochian Script, but I find very little there myself. Blessings, Raven The Boo of Ways is not a published boo , but rather a text which is copied by Initiates of our Tradition. It is hand written, and hand copied. The material in the Boo of Ways has been handed down over Generations. Once a person is initiated into our Ways, their Initiator will sit down with them, and oversee the copying of the Boo . The Boo of Ways is divided into 3 sections: Ways, Calls, and Influences. "Ways" contains all of the rituals, Initiation rites, Community Rites, Myths, and Lore. "Calls" contains all of the chants, ritual gestures, ritual postures, invocations, and symbols. "Influences" contains all of the magical nowledge, herbal nowledge, magical correspondences, spells, formulas for oils & potions, and so on.
I'm glad you spo e about runes because I'd wondered how the hec Vi ing writing got into the Aridian system, but figured that those old warriors DID get around! Seriously, are these runes part of the secret part of the tradition, or are they open? If so, have they been published in Raven's Call? I'm curious to see them, as you probably have guessed. At any rate, it seems foolish to be inscribing Northern European runes on personal objects when that isn't the tradition which I'm moving towards. Any ideas? SeraLuna Dear SeraLuna, We do not use Germanic runes in our Tradition, and I assume that the confusion here comes from the runes on our Raven's Call Logo ? In our Tradition we have a runic alphabet which is very much li e Etruscan (but not quite). We also have another set of runes which are for divination. Neither of these have been revealed to the Public at this time. The divination runes we do intend to ma e available to the Public. I still have not decided about the alphabet runes. We used the Germanic runes on our Logo because they have a general appeal in the Craft Community. Blessings, Raven
1996 Dear Raven, I have read something of the history of Germanic runes. Etruscan writing is believed by some scholars to be one of the sources of Germanic runes. It was not that far for wandering Germanic tribes to travel to northern Italy. Certainly some Germanic runes derive from the Latin alphabet. Jana Dear Jana, Than s, I had not heard of that theory. I new that the Celts had invaded Italy (circa 390 B.C.), and had a brief stay before the Roman Legions drove them out. The Germanic tribes had come much later, I had thought, sometime around 161 A.D. ? The Etruscans were defeated by the Romans in the later part of the 300's B.C., and by 200 B.C. they were fully absorbed by the Roman Empire. Blessings, Raven Dear Raven, The boo in which I read it was from the University of Washington graduate library, so I can't chec the details now. It was a substantial scholarly study of runes, not some New Age quic ie boo . Of course there are many theories on the roots of Germanic runes; the Etruscan/Latin origin in only one, but a strong one. Jana
In our Tradition we have a "spirit pouch", which I would li e to share with you. In it's present form it is said to come from 14th Century Italy, during the time of Aradia. The wearing of such a pouch, however, certainly goes much bac in Human history. The purpose of the pouch is to eep one in harmony with Nature and the Spirit World. It also serves as a "portable altar" for practicing the Craft. It is said that these type of pouches were carried by the followers of Aradia, during the time of "Wandering".
This first group of items serves as miniature ritual tools. The needle is the Athame, the thimble is the Chalice, the coin is the Pentacle, and the twig is the Wand. To these items are also added: a shell (to represent the Goddess) a piece of antler horn (to represent the God) two small candles (for altar candles) ground herbs (for incense) a portion of salt (for purification) a small vessel of anointing oil
The pouch is usually about the size of the average paperbac boo . In it are placed the following objects: a large sewing needle a thimble a coin (with a pentagram etched on it) a small twig
---------THE NANTA BAG
1997 a measure of cord (9 feet) a small finger bowl (for the spirit flame) Finally the pouch is completed with the addition of these items: a small stone, smooth and rounded (to represent Earth) a small feather (to represent the element of Air) a small portion of ash (to represent the Fire Element) a small vessel of pure water (representing same) The principle of Contagion Magic was the foundation for empowering the pouch. Basically this means that objects absorb power and have an energy field around them (their "numen' or "mana"). When one object is placed with another, then these objects are joined and influence one another. The Nanta Bag in turn, has a contagion influence upon the person who carries it (in direction proportion to those items inside the pouch). This bag is usually carried by a Priestess or a Priest of The Old Religion. With it they can bless, consecrate, heal, and wor magic and rituals. In the Aridian Tradition we also place any power objects which we collect from time to time. Gifts of a crystal or other small objects, from people whose power we respect are also placed in the bag. Thus the bag begins to ta e on a great deal of Numen or Mana. Originally, of course, these pouches were made from animal s ins. Some were Deers in and some were Wolfs in. The Boo of Ways does not specify any type of material. Most of our Initiates use a cotton or sil material. The colors do vary, and again the Boo of Ways does not specify. I have some Initiates who use a leather fannypac . These are practical and can be easily worn in public, without anyone giving you the evil-eye. Synthetic materials would, of course, be inappropriate. -----------USING THE NANTA BAG Once completed, as outlined in the previous note, the Nanta is ready to be consecrated. Begin by presenting the pouch (filled with the objects) to the four quarters, saying "Blessed be by the spirits of the East", and continuing with the spirits of the South, West, and North. Next bless the pouch by touching it to each of the elements (using the elemental bowls as mentioned in my first note). Always begin with the East/Air element. A gesture of power is then made over the pouch, or you can trace a crescent or pentagram on it. Once completed, say these words over the bag: "O'Great Nanta, bless and empower this pouch and all within it, ma ing it a bridge to Power. I am lin ed to Thee and thou art lin ed to Nature. We are One from three. We are the Triangle manifest. In the names of Diana and Dianus, so be it done"
1998 When using the pouch, the bag itself serves as the altar, upon which the objects inside may be placed. Feel free to add other objects to the bag, which you may find useful. Some of our initiates do have rather large Nanta bags! The Nanta Bag is a very useful tool which allows you to have access to complete set of rituals tools at any time. Our Priests and Priestesses carry them either on their person, or in their cars, etc. Once we were driving along and saw a dog get hit by a car. We all jumped out and grabbed a Nanta Bag. As the dog was dying we blessed it with an oil, and performed a simple ritual for it's spirit to pass in peace. The loo on the faces of the bystanders was truly priceless! Dear Raven, What does Nanta mean? From the verse you quoted it appears to be the name of a spirit or deity. Jana FROM: RAVEN GRIMASSI "Nanta" is a powerful spirit, associated with the Earth and with Nature (as a Whole). It is considered a "name of Power". It is not an Italian word, and it's origin most li ely is even pre-Etruscan. Dear SeraLuna, Many antique stores seem to have a set of antlers laying around, you may want to try that. There are other representations of the "God Energy" which you could use,if you desire. These are: acorns, pine cones, oa , evergreen needles, etc. BTW if you are trying to put a bag together you might be interested in contacting a coin dealer. The Moroccan coins have a pentacle on their face. Some of the coins have a wreath design around the pentacle. Many of us use these coins for our Nanta bags. Also, the Moroccan flag has a pentacle on it (solid red field with a green interlaced pentacle) and some initiates use the small flags as altar cloths for their Nanta bags. What is this younger Generation coming to !? <BG>. Blessings, Raven Response to a later inquiry about the Nanta Bag: Well, I was unable to find my original note so I'll just wing it. The Nanta Bag originates from 14th Century Italy and was used by the wandering priestesses & priests of The Old Religion. With the contents of this bag they were able to have access to a complete set of ritual tools and an altar upon which to perform their wor s. The items within the bag were minature tools: a sewing needle for an athame, a thimble for the chalice, a small twig for a wand, and a coin with a star etched upon it for a pentacle. The bag itself became the altar upon which the tools were placed. In the bag there were also small candles, a length of cord for mar ing the circle, small symbolic items to represent the Goddess and the God (such as a shell for the Lady and a piece of horn for the Lord), and items to represent the four
1999 elements (such as a pebble for earth, a feather for air, ashes for fire, and a water representation). Objects of personal power were also placed within the bag. If someone whose power you respected gave you a small object then this would be ept in the bag as well. Once completed the Nanta Bag served to connect one with the forces of Nature, and ept the person within the flow of power. This is why in the Aridian Tradition we call non-initiates "outdwellers" because they live outside of the ways of Nature (they live in the "Outworld"). When all of the items have been collected the bag is blessed in the names of the God & Goddess. Then words such as the following are said over the bag: "O'Great Nanta, be thou a natural focus and a bridge to power. I am lin ed to Thee and thou art lin ed to Nature We are One from Three We are the Triangle Manifest. In the names of Tana and Tanus so be it done". Within the bag can also be placed small containers for herbs and incense, etc. Some initiates today use a fanny pac to serve as their Nanta Bag, others employ a cotton or leather pouch. We all ta e them with us when we go camping and it is a beautiful experience to lay the tools out beneath a Full Moon when you are up in the mountains, or out in the desert. ---------INNER TEACHINGS In Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism, the use of ca es and wine in a ceremony, goes bac to ancient times and is connected to an Occult Mystery Tradition. This is the Tradition of the Divine Sacrificial King/Slain God Mythos. Because the survival of early Human ind depended upon the fertility of animals, crops, and themselves, fertility itself became the basis for the early cult focus. Fertility leads to Birth, and this is the portal into the Physical World from an invisible world connected to this one. The Nature of the one who is coming through this portal (why they came and what their purpose is) depends upon Breeding. Breeding (selective reproductive strains) was learned by the early Humans from observing and experimenting with animals and plants. They easily observed that the "best" produced li e, and that many of the desired traits could be passed on if the breeding was controlled. Death was seen as an exit from this World (just as birth had been an entrance). It seemed logical to assume that the one who died was returning to where they had been before they were born. Death was seen as migration.
2000 In the "other world" the sacrificial messenger was delivered to the Gods to spea on behalf of the Clans needs. It was also believed that this person would return to the Clan as a "Savior" and help deliver them from the problems of this World, and to secure a place for them in the next World. This is why in the Descent of the Goddess (Myth) we read "...you must return again at the same time and at the same place as the loved ones. And you must meet, and now, and remember, and love them again..." This is the major rendering of this passage, but there is another. In the Descent Myth we find a passage referring to "three great mysteries in the Life of Man". These mysteries are also connected to the Divine Sacrificial King Mythos. The three great mysteries are Birth, Death, and Rebirth. The Descent Myth tells us that "love controls them all". The Myth goes on to say "...but to be reborn, you must die, and be made ready for a new body. And to die you must be born, and without love, you may not be born". This was, in part, instructional for the person who was being sacrificed, but it also pertained to the Populace as a Whole. Without the bonds of love between this world and the next, there can be no interaction (either between individuals or gods). Yet, this Mythos is also connected with that of the Hanged Man (who was the Hooded Man). The Hooded Man was the Guardian of the Sacred Grove at Nemi (where he was called Rex Nemorensis, the King of the Woods). This enigmatic character embodies the idea of new life springing out of death, and he also brings the creative power of the Tree Spirit of the Sacred Grove, to the People. The Mythos of the Hooded Man can be seen in many Cultures. In various parts of Europe he is nown by many names: The Green Man, Jac -in-the- green, Jac -in-the-bush, Robin Goodfellow, Robyne of the Woods, and Robin o'the Hood. The position nown as the Hanged Man, stems from that of the Hooded Man. He is the symbol of Self Sacrifice for the good of the Whole. The Key to understanding the Hanged Man lies in the fact that he is "enlightened" as hangs upon the Tree.
The title of the "Hanged Man" means, in an occult sense, "suspended mind" because "man" and "mind" are from the sans rit root (used by early occultists). The title refers also to the utter dependence of Human personality upon the Cosmic life. He hangs now as a co-wor er with the Divine, having placed his own Ego out of the way of the Divine inflow. Only in this way can he attain the Higher Consciousness, and become useful to his People. The sacred tree of the grove represents the bridge to the other worlds, and it is the Consciousness which "hangs" upon the tree, which serves to unify Human ind with the Divine. The mental attitude suggested by the Hanged Man, then, is "Not my Will, but Thine". This is ever the position of the Adept, as, indeed, it is the position of every person who wor s in any field of applied science. It is an illusive, personal thing which is but the reflection, or mas , of "Thy Will", which is the purpose or motive of the Cosmic Life - a Will absolutely free, and certain to be realized.