The Whitewashing of Witchery in American Neo Paganism- The Taming of the Witch

The Whitewashing of Witchery in American Neo Paganism- The Taming of the Witch.

 

A brilliant piece of writing- one that I totally agree with.

Wicca and neo-paganism is often found to be in denial as to what it is. You can’t claim to be a harmless and peaceful faith with a ‘harm none’ rede yet have practitioners study curses, hexes and manipulation magics. Gardner himself conducted a rite against the Germans during WWII- I’m sure the results would have included a great deal of harm to the Germans. Chrisitanity and Wicca have much in common- they both deny their origins. The God of the Christians is the Hebraic god of the Israelites- the wrathful god of vengence, slayer of the first born, bringer of plagues, denier of knowledge (Eve of course ate from the tree of knowledge and paid the price for ignoring God’s command to accept existence as it was and not seek to know more)- yet Christians now promote a vision of a sanitised and forgiving God. He still hasn’t delivered them back to the Garden of Eden after millennia- not very forging!

Admit what you are and what you do- the restraints of the right hand are there to confine the sheep with an existence. “Morality is the herd instinct in the individual” said Nietzsche. The herd of cattle does not think for itself, but follows the direction chosen for it. Free yourself. Choose for yourself what is right and wrong and define your own moral code. Selfishness is not a bad trait- to want to improve oneself, to learn, to grow stronger, to progress skills, to have more freedom, to be financially stable- these are not wrongful acts, but are acts of selfishness. Odin is my fultrui and teacher- he did as he chose and slayed his ancestor, learned the magic of seidr when it was forbidden and his grand schemes and plots are played out through to Ragnarok- only then will the plot of Odin, Loki and Baldur be revealed when Baldur can explain what the Allfather whispered to him on the pyre. Odin is known as the grey- a mix of black and white and perhaps this describes his morality and use of magic?

To be selfish is to survive, to improve yourself and overcome adversity. To be selfless is to accept the status quo and live as cattle.

By denying the selfish, self-deification aspects of withcraft- Wiccan’s are missing part of the picture. Knowing only the ‘white’ magical arts is akin to learning martial arts without learning how to use fatal blows- knowing only half of the art will lead to accidents as the true skill to not harming someone is that you know how to do so if you must and so have the knowledge to restrain yourself as required. Wiccan’s have the sword and the shield at hand- yet only select the shield and then ‘ask’ a god or goddess to shape things for them. I’m pretty sure the gods they use must be getting sick of hearing the prayers of request.

The black and white will fall to the grey.

 

 

 

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Heathens and the Pagan Federation

LOL, I was just googling a band to see if they were openly Asatru and came across a Yahoo Answers! page where someone was asking about Wiccan or Asatru music. What made me laugh was somebody with a predictably ‘witch’ sounding name giving guidance suggesting Wiccan’s don’t openly make music about their beliefs and that they had never heard of Asatru.

Here lies the problem and one that made me revisit some thoughts on the Pagan Federation and Pagan representation on the whole.

Wiccan’s dominate the Pagan agenda, media and events. Now, Wicca is clearly the largest claimed Pagan belief system as most of its adherents are solitary and non-initiated followers who describe themselves as Wiccan (usually to much annoyance of initiated Wiccan’s in a BTW coven etc, but that’s another story…). Like any media, it reflects the views of the majority as does any group serving multiple faiths/sectors etc.

Don’t misunderstand me here I have nothing against Wiccan’s. Without a couple of well educated and open Wiccan’s, I would have taken much longer to find Asatru- as they listened to my beliefs and questions as to how to worship Odin and Frigg when Wiccan ritual did not feel right and pointed me in the direction of Asatru.

 

The Pagan Federation needs enhanced representation by someone of a Heathen/Asatru belief. Publications are dominated by worship of the Goddess, environmental and hunting campaigns etc. Whilst all of this is actually fine and interesting to me, I do find myself wondering where the representation of those members on Druid, Asatru, Celtic, Hellenic etc. paths is. Is it purely that these communities are small enough that they have no representative or is it the domination of Wiccan ideology through appeal to the masses?

How can we change this?

Firstly, I’m actually going to contact the Pagan Federation and offer up some articles for their quarterly publication I actually believe that the lack of forwardness from us in this respect is the reason we are under-represented in Pagan media. Wiccan’s dominate through their numbers not through any aggressive agenda.

Secondly, I’m going to push a bit more for non-Wiccan ritual and the observance of other Pagan festivals within my local Pagan group which will be interesting to see how that goes.

If only all Heathen/Asatru were open to being honest in public about their beliefs. I was nervous about telling friends and co-workers, but my opening up was a massive relief. Most have no urge to question my tattoo’s or my pendants and those that do so seem genuinely accepting of what I tell them. I’m fairly sure that a number of bands who sing very detailed songs around the lore may actually be Asatru- yet declare themselves Atheist and I suspect it may be on the advice of record companies to deflect potential for mis-association with some of the less desirable elements…say no more…

I’ve got a few more ideas for the positive promotion of Asatru awareness. I don’t want to openly seek to convert anyone just for people to be aware of our religion so that nobody, especially a fellow pagan, says ‘I have no idea what Asatru is’. That hurt.

 

 

 

A liberal, heathen, non-folkish Asatru group in England…

So, I have posted previously about my search for (as per the title of this post) a non-folkish Asatru or liberal heathen group in England. They do exist- I’ve made contact with a few and have joined a couple of groups online.

But, there is an issue…

I can find more liberal groups in Sweden than in England. I travel to Sweden frequently, but not enough to partake in a group there.

UK or England based groups that have a liberal world view are often based in or around London which makes it about as likely for me to participate face-to-face as with those groups in Sweden.

The age old issue of some members of groups not fully understanding the consequences of what they say online. I have seen some liken Odinism to Satanism- I do not accept the existence of hell and/or Satan as they are Christian constructs with hell being named as a bastardisation of Hel in order to convert Heathens by way of informing them that their afterlife holds nothing but pain and misery and driving conversion by way of the repenting Christ. After so much has been done already to alter public perceptions and educate that all Pagans are not devil worshippers as we do not believe in Satan, I find it a shame that a self-professed Heathen would publicly associate Heathenism as a form of Satanism- yes, I am aware of the reality of what Satanism actually incorporates, but the general public and media would only use this as an act against us.

Some groups are local to myself, but meetings are infrequent and/or set around the lives of the core members making attendance difficult for myself.

Local Pagan/Heathen groups are often very Wiccan derived and although open to all pagan faiths, the insistence on a triple moon symbol for a group and the group worship of a Goddess and God is something I find offensive to my Gods and Goddesses- Mani is a male deity and not the moon-goddess as Wiccans believe etc. They are entitled to their views, as I am mine, but they unwittingly steer these groups in a Wiccan (although I would wager that few, if any, are actually initiates of a British-Traditional Wiccan coven derived from Gerald Gardner) manner.

I will attempt to find a liberal heathen group once more- I will consider Urd’s Well Kindred, the UK arm of the Ring of Troth (or the Troth) amongst others- NOTE: please feel free to suggest any liberal groups!

Further more, I see a likely development that I will relocate my family within the next 9 months (no baby is on the way!) and will look to move to a larger location. I will confirm that my thoughts have turned towards forming my own group, with my own criteria for membership and accepting those who share the same beliefs as myself. I’ll post more on that as it happens, but we are likely talking about a small online group at first, followed by a formalised structure for physical meetings and a location dedicated to such. I have no idea how this will form itself, but it is the way in which I feel drawn.

Combining beliefs…

Okay,

so there is a fundamental belief that exists out there in the Pagan world…you can’t mix beliefs. Speak to a follower of Asatru and they will mock norse-Wicca, Hoodoo practitioners will decry Wiccan’s use of their techniques etc.

This is the way I see it- nobody has any written guidelines or rules as to how Pagan beliefs were or should be practised. Christianity took hundreds of years to write it’s beliefs down and then spent hundreds more years obliterating pagan beliefs and forcing the traditions to be maintained verbally. As such, nobody has a right to claim what they do is the correct or original way. I believe in Odin, Frigga, Thor etc and worship them as I see fit. That’s the bottom line. I believe I honour them appropriately and that they appreciate my approach to magick and religion.

Bruce Lee was shunned in the martial arts world for many years. Why? He sought to take everything he could learn from Karate, Wing-Chun, Shaolin Kung-Fu, Judo, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing etc and combine it into the core martial art.

I see my belief and practice in a similar way- I use elements of Wicca, Ceremonial, Norse and other religious beliefs and magickal systems to combine them into what I see as essential and working for me. Religion and magick are both essentially about the individual and their beliefs. Do what you feel is right and listen to any guidance from the Gods you receive. I do.

Blessings, do as you will.

Casting circles

First steps…

Casting a circle for the first time- well that is an experience! If you are about to do this- then fear not, like other ‘firsts’, everyone has one!

I cast my first circle for a ritual back in May 2011. I read what I could but quickly realised that there are an infinite number of ways to cast a circle, with variations for watchtowers, winds, deities etc. Everyone seems to have their own variation on the wording of the calls etc so settle on one that feels right or write your own with guidance from the ones you read or come across.

Feelings of doubt, embarrassment, foolishness, fear of getting it wrong… yes, I had all of these as I cast my first circle one night when nobody else was around.

Luckily, we had the required candles and objects around as my wife has done various workings over the years without being on the Wiccan path herself.

What happens if I get it wrong? Will the gods smite me? Well you know what- the intention is what matters and the gods respect this. This is not to say they won’t laugh at you- I’ve lost count of how many times I have called the element of fire only to have the candle refuse to light! Irony is high on the amusement factor for the gods i guess.

After you cast a circle, perform spells or rituals for a number of times then you will lose the nerves and doubts- your ritual words and actions will become second nature and will undoubtedly show personal touches. This is your power adding itself to the ritual- go with it. What feels right generally is.

Blessings.

Beginnings

Blessings and welcome,

I have decided to write about my journey as I progress and develop my beliefs and my knowledge of magic and divination.
I will be keeping track of my development as a note for those that may follow and be seeking someone whom has had similar ideas, questions and other feelings. I hope that I may be able to offer advice, information and the knowledge that nobody is the first to have such issues or questions…thousands of years of previous people with these beliefs mean we are far from the first.
NightRavenoak is my taken name as it came to me in a dream and then proved to be numberologically perfect for my birthdate.
Soon, I will recap my journey so far.
Until then, 
Blessed be.