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Dr Farin

The Philosophy Of Witchcraft

The Craft is a religion of love and joy. With no ideas of "original sin", with salvation and happiness possible only in the afterlife. The music of Witchcraft is joyful and lively. Why is this? Why are Pagans/Wiccans more content more warm and happy? Much of it has to do with their empathy with nature. Early people loved hand-in-hand with nature through necessity. They were a part of nature, not separate from it. An animal was a brother or sister, as was a tree. Wo/Man tended the fields and in return received food for the table. Sure, s/he killed animals for food. But then many animals kill other animals in order to eat. In other words, Woman and Man where a part of the natural order of things, not separate from it. Not "above" it.


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Modern Wo/Man has lost much, if not all, of that closeness. Civilization has cut them off. But not so the Witch! Even today, in this mechanized, super-sophisticated world that this branch of nature (Woman and Man) has created, the Wicca/Pagan retain their ties with Mother Nature. In books such as Brett Bolton's the secret power of Plants we are told of the "incredible", "extraordinary" healthy reaction of plants to kindness; of how they feel and react to both good and evil; how they express love, fear, hate (something that might be vegetarians when they become over-critical of meat-eaters, perhaps?). This is no new discovery. Witches have always known it. They have always spoken kindly to plants. It is not unusual to see a Witch, walking through the woods, stop and hug a tree. It is not peculiar to see a Witch throw off her shoes and walk barefoot across a ploughed field. This is all part of keeping in touch with nature; of not losing our heritage.

From: Buckland's complete Book of Witchcraft

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What is a witch?

A witch is a person who follows the 'Old Religion', which he or she believes to predate the Judaic-Christian religion and which is nowadays called Pagan/Wiccan. Although some writers think the word 'Wicca' derives from the Old English verb witan, to know, and therefore means 'wisdom', this is not the case. It derives from the Indo-European root-word weik, which produced, eventually, the Old English word wigle (sorcery), the Old Norse word wihl (craftiness) and thence the English words guile and wile. Other related words are the Old High German wihen (to consecrate) and the middle German word wikken (to predict). This leads eventually to the Old English wicca (witch) and wiccian (to sorcery, cunning, holiness and prediction. The original Indo-European word weik had to do with magic and religion. It must be realized, however, that the Old English word Wicca took on the meaning of sorcerer, of one who has dealings with evil spirits, at a time when the Christian Church was beginning to spread the idea that those who worshipped other gods than the Christian one and yet performed acts of healing or claimed to have spiritual power were certainly dealing with evil forces. An act of healing in the name of Christ was good; an act of healing in the name of any other power was bound to have been done by the agency of evil spirits. 'Wicca' may be the wrong word to use to describe the Old Religion, but it seems to have come to stay.

What do witches believe?

A witch is a person who believes in the 'Old Religion' that is at present called Wicca/Pagan. This religion is one that emphasizes the unity of the natural world and the spiritual powers that it possesses. Witches believe that all living things have 'souls' and spiritual power, and that the world is composed of a network of spiritual forces. These forces cause the rhythmic changes in all life, and the witch acknowledges these times of change by holding celebrations eight times a year.

How old is the Old Religion?

Wicca/Pagan is both the oldest of all religions and one of the youngest. The Goddess and her consort, the horned God, were worshipped in the Stone Age long before the construction of Stonehenge. Statures of the Goddess dating back to 25,00 BC have been discovered. They were plentiful in the Halfian period in Iraq around 3800 BC. The worship of the forces of nature, the belief that all living things have 'soul', appears to have been equally ancient, as does belief in the influence of the sun, moon and stars on the destiny of man, and the belief in the continuation of life after the body's death, and in some form of reincarnation. The latter may have stemmed originally form the belief that all living things are subject to the same natural laws, and the observation that all vegetation dies and is reborn. The view that death is the end, or that death is followed by eternal pleasure or eternal punishment in a haven or hell, cannot be supported by observation of natural events. This being so, death should not be feared as likely to bring an eternity of punishment. Nor should it be welcomed as the bringer of eternal pleasure. Life continues, is perpetual and perpetual for all forms of life.

What is magic?

S.L. Mathers, an occultist, defined magic as 'the science of the control of the secret forces of nature'. The word 'secret' may be taken as meaning that the 'forces', though natural, have not yet been thoroughly operation remains mysterious. From another point of view, 'magic' might be defined as the power which causes an event or change to happen on command without any apparent physical cause or use of the known laws of nature. When we see something inexplicable that has clearly been intended to happen, we say 'It's magic!' or perhaps 'It's a miracle!' Stage illusionists are commonly known as magicians. The difference between stage magic and true magic is that in true magic what appears to happen has actually happened; in stage magic this is not the case.

What are black and white witch craft?

These terms irritate witches enormously. Witches, who have utilized their legal right to freedom of religion and announced themselves believers in the Old Religion, are always being asked 'Are you a black or white witch?' The best answer I have heard is, 'If you are a Christian, are you a good or bad Christian?' The truth is simple. Acts of magic which run counter to the Wiccan credo of 'Love, and harm none' are wrong--they are indeed evil. Other acts are not. This was recognized before AD 500 by the Christian Church. Indeed, Constantine's law against witches was simply that witches who did evil things should be punished; others should not be harmed.

Do witches worship the devil?

The answer is 'No'. First, the Devil is a figure in Christian doctrine, and Wiccan/Pagan predates Christianity. Moreover, the figure of Satan, or the Devil, was almost entirely ignored by the Church until the sixth century AD, when it became politically wise to identify the horned consort of the Goddess as equivalent to the adversarial figure who is featured in Genesis and the Book of Job and who acts as scrutineer of Christ's conscience in the forty days in the wilderness.

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