WITCHCRAFT: Some Answers for the Curious
prepared and released
by Ka'l El
Grove of the Unicorn
What is a Witch?
Contrary to many widely-held myths, witches are quite normal, engaged in the
sorts of activities that are common to people in any culture or civilisation.
We work in a variety of professions, we live in all climates, we drive cars,
raise families, tell jokes, and in most ways come across as perfectly normal
people. This, however, doesn't answer the question, so let's approach it from
a different angle:
Technically, witches are initiated members of a Celtic-style nature religion.
In this sense (which is, strictly speaking, the proper one), a witch is a
person who has demonstrated a firm understanding of the principles of the
Craft, has been trained in the meaning and purpose of ritual and the
performance of ritual, and in all ways seeks to live a life that is in harmony
with Nature and the cycles of the universe.
What are Warlocks, then?
The term 'warlock' specifically means 'oath-breaker'; it is used to describe
one whose word cannot be safely trusted. To call someone a warlock is a
serious matter in Pagan circles, as we hold integrity and trustworthiness in
very high regard. Warlocks are generally outcasts, and may be either male or
female. Just so, the term 'witch' is correctly applied to both male and
You've mentioned Paganism twice; I thought Pagans were godless heathens!
'Pagan' comes from the Latin pagani, which means 'country-dweller'. During the
Middle Ages, when the Roman church began to consolidate its influence in
northern Europe (and specifically in the British Isles), they concentrated
their efforts around the noble courts, which were generally centers of
population. As members of the court began to accept the new Way of
Christianity, others began to see advantage in being on the new team, and
followed those with money and power into the fold.
The new religion was not so popular among the common people, who were more
inclined to tend their flocks and crops than to curry favor with the nobility
in town. The courtiers, educated by Latin-speaking clergymen, referred to
these un-Converted masses as pagans, or 'hicks', as might be said today.
'Heathen', that all-purpose accusation, is just the old English translation of
'pagan'; both terms simply mean that the fashionable people of the Dark Ages
didn't think much of the arrogant rubes who wanted to hang on to their own
ways rather than disbelieve the evidence of their lives and experiences.
As far as 'godlessness' is concerned, only repetition has given these words
That doesn't tell me much about Paganism.
Paganism is a broad group of traditions that share a more-or-less common world-
view, and in that way is similar to Christianity. This world-view is marked by
- Creation as an on-going process (as distinct from an event);
- Time as an ever-repeating cycle or spiral (no start or
- Universe as an organism becoming conscious (as distinct from a
machine produced by a celestial engineer);
- Love as the essential nature of the Universal organism;
- Experience as the means by which the Universe becomes
- Incarnation as the means by which experience is forged into
- 'God' as a description (as distinct from a name or title).
Although there are differences between them, Wicca, Shintoism, Hinduism,
Polynesian Kahuna, Taoism and American Indians are among those groups who
substantially share this world-view. Many of these concepts are espoused as
well by some 'New Age' groups. In essence, Pagans hold that spirituality and
divinity are inherent in the Universe, that we live to experience, and through
that experience we gain wisdom and increased awareness.
Do witches Believe in Jesus?
Some witches believe in a historical Jesus while others believe in the symbolic
or mythic Jesus; others believe in neither, and for many, the question of
Jesus is irrelevant. I have heard many of my brothers and sisters voice the
opinion that Jesus was a genuine Divine Being who taught a path of love and
service, and who in his role as the Sacred King gave his life that the lives
of the people would be renewed. For these things we honor him, yet we do not
believe in messiahs, and I know of no Witch who worships him as the 'only son
Then how do Witches propose to Escape Hell and Attain Salvation?
This dual question has no real meaning for us; we see life as a school, not a
lottery. In this school, we learn from the mistakes we make as we thread our
ways through the world, and the lessons we learn are of love, tolerance,
humility, understanding and joy. We believe that we learn these lessons, in
common with all life every-where, through face-to-face interaction with the
'way things are'; and we believe that, though these lessons are often
accompanied by feelings of sorrow or loss, they are worth the learning. On the
subject of salvation, we believe that Hell (so-called) is the result of
becoming attached to things and people (being 'of the world', as Christians
might say), taking the lessons of life personally and perceiving them as
troubles and blaming ourselves and others for the problems in our lives. On
the same note, the closest we get to an idea of Heaven is through accepting
the pains and frustrations of day-to-day life as lessons, and learning how we
have caused ourselves and others pain through our errors, thereby freeing us
to go on with our lives stronger, wiser, and more balanced.
Where do you think you go when you die, then?
We tell stories of a place we call Summerland, which we think of as a place of
welcome rest after the rigors of life on Earth. We expect to be rejoined with
friends and loved ones who went before us, to digest and understand the
lessons we have learned during our time 'incarnate'. From there, we will
return to life on Earth after a time, to learn and teach until we achieve
perfect knowledge and understanding of this cycle of existence. Honestly, we
don't much occupy ourselves with thoughts about afterlife, as we believe there
is nothing to fear.
I guess you don't believe the Bible is the 'word of god'...
No we don't; the ways it teaches are not our ways, although we respect
them as we respect all the many ways that people use to 'touch the heart of
What do you use, then, for a Bible?
The world is our 'bible' (Latin for 'book'), and all that is on it, in it, and
around it. For us, the Earth is our mother, our teacher and our provider.
From her, we learn to survive, to sing, to create, to rest and to believe.
The Sun for us is a symbol of the father, from whom we learn to dare, to
question, to heal, to dance and to dream. The seasons teach about birth,
death and rebirth, and about the need to live in harmony and balance with the
rest of creation. For us, the Divine is all about us, befriending us, teaching
and guiding us.
Are Witches Pantheistic or Polytheistic?
Both. Yet the truth is not reached by so simple an answer. We are pantheist
in the sense that, for us, the gods are everywhere. This is essentially what
Judeo-Christianity refers to in speaking of God as omnipresent. The gods are
also within us (the Kingdom of God within, as Christians would say), because
we contain the Divine Spark ('Holy Spirit') in common with all that exists.
Because we perceive this ever-present spiritual manifestation around us, we
are also polytheistic, meaning that the attributes or characteristics of
perfection and divinity take on many forms; therefore, they can be understood
in many different senses and deepen our comprehension of the Truth that is
behind and beyond all Ways and all religions. To put it another way, we are
Polytheist because (for us) the Absolute (which roughly equates to the
Christian concept of 'God') manifests as male and female, and so we worship
both God and Goddess. We are Pantheist because this primary dual
manifestation is reflected throughout creation and so, everything that is
tells us about some aspect of the Absolute (and is therefore holy). Tell me
something about the Gods you worship.
Please bear with me on this, as the question requires some groundwork.
In common with the monotheistic religions, we believe that there is a single
Source of all things, beyond our observation and comprehension. In our
conception, the Source is neither a thing nor a Being, but instead transcends
such limited human concepts. It serves the same role, conceptually, as that
of a 'Supreme Being'. We do not worship the Source (also referred to as 'the
All' and as 'the Absolute'), as such, because in our view, one can only
approach a relationship with the Source by becoming mindful of its
characteristics and qualities as they manifest themselves in the world in
which we live. These characteristics and qualities, over the years, have
become personified as 'gods'. In such forms, they appear in the myths and
teachings of many cultures, including the antique world of Greece, Rome,
The names of these gods are not of particular importance, because the gods
themselves are only important as symbols of various aspects of existance.
Through them, we are able to see ourselves as part of the universe, as
manifestations of the Source in our own rights. We believe it is the destiny
of all things to return to the Source through true understanding. Having said
all this, let me now show you how it all comes about for us.
We believe that the Source is made manifest in the Creation that surrounds us;
and we see this manifestation as being made up of dualities, which are linked
in a meaningful way. The most obvious of these polar pairs are male/female,
heat/cold, light/dark, sky/earth, and sun/moon; there are, literally,
thousands of such pairs of complementary opposites, and each plays its own
role, but for our purposes here, these are enough.
This profusion of paired opposites suggests to us that duality is the essential
character of creation, and to humans, the most significant of these pairings
is that of male and female. From this primal pair emerges the concept of god
and goddess. In this light, the pairs we listed just now are categorised by
their apparent natures:
God - male, light, heat, sky, sun;
Goddess - female, dark, cold, earth, moon; and from these categories,
it is derived that the overall character of god is active, and that of goddess
is passive. At the risk of oversimplifying, I will leave this part of the
discussion, with a word that these qualities of god and goddess are
archetypal, rather than literal absolutes.
We refer to god and goddess, generally, as the Lord and the Lady. The Lord is
the Father of all, and his qualities of light, warmth, and energy are most
often symbolised by the sun, and whose nature is most often represented by the
sky. The Lady is the Mother of all, whose patience and receptivity is
symbolised by the earth, and whose adaptability and steadfastness is
represented by the moon. Our bodies are the sign of her love and creativity.
We see this endless chain of dualities reflected in our interactions with the
world in which we live, and with our fellow creatures, who are also the
children of the Lord and Lady. We see this chain in the eternal cycles which
move the universe around its unknown center. There is more to male and female
than mother and father: the Lord also represents our Brother, our Friend; and
likewise is the Lady Sister and Friend to us. Like each of us, they have
many names, many faces, many roles, yet they remain themselves. Our gods have
grown, in a sense, as our understanding of ourselves and the creation around
us has grown; and yet they are just as they have always been. "As it was in
the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be" is true to us, as well.
As we learn more about the divine creation around us, we learn to move in
harmony with it and with the creatures that share it with us, just as sailors
learn to work in accord with the winds, the currents and the tides in order to
reach their destination. As we learn about ourselves, we learn to rise above
the fear and frus-tration that can accompany life, and learn to accept
ourselves and others as we are, to experience joy and love in our lives. As
we learn about the gods, we draw closer to them and learn under-standing,
tolerance, humour, and thankfulness. And, for us, doing any one of these is
doing all of these.
Do Witches worship the Devil?
NO! In fact, for many centuries, Wicca (as we call the indigenous paganism of
northern Europe) and Christianity co-existed peacefully: the Christians did
not claim to be the sole access to God, and the Wicca offered sincere
reverence to Jesus as a great Sacred King whose sacrifice touched everyone.
However, as the Roman church grew in power and influence, it became jealous of
the very large number of Wiccans who - though acknowledging the divine role of
Jesus and respectful of the Path walked by those devoted exclusively to his
message - still steadfastly refused to render obedience, wealth and land to
Rome (and its emissaries); for northern Europe was almost entirely inhabited
by those who held to the 'Old Religion'. This jealousy was the beginning of
the Roman church's deliberate attempts to discredit the old ways. These
attempts included the creation of a 'devil' that was deliberately designed as
a caricature of the Horned God worshipped (though not exclusively) by the Old
Religion; the attribution of any and all natural calamities, and any source of
distress, to the practices of the Wicca, which, it was claimed, invoked this
'Power of Evil' the church had created; and by accusing women (who lacked
sufficient maleness to have been created in 'God's' image) of being inherently
demonic temptations, drawing men away from the church and into the natural
world of life and death.
In this light, it is hardly accidental that the whole-sale persecution of the
Old Religion began during the time of the Black Death. This plague did much
of the church's work for it: by killing off one fourth to one third of the
population, the black death eliminated an enormous number of adherents to the
Old Religion. That done, and the Wiccan civilisation still disorganized from
the imperial Roman extermination of the Druids years before (the Druids
were masters of history, ritual, poetry and law), it became a simple matter to
convince the survivors that the natural world was their enemy, and women the
wanton agents of the 'Enemy'. The stage had been set for the Inquisitions,
whose victims were overwhelmingly women and persons of wealth and influence in
the lives of the decimated pagan community.
Since those times, the Roman church and its' successors (such as the 'PTL' and
'700' clubs) have used this manufactured association with an artificial Arch-
BadGuy as a means of justifying the CONTINUED persecution and murder of those
who still follow the Wiccan Way.
In "The Satanic Bible", it says that Witches ARE devil-worshippers but are
ignorant of the fact.
The Satanic Bible was written by a man who worships 'Satan', who is supposed to
be the 'father of lies'. This suggests to me that his commitment to the truth
may not be trustworthy. Essentially, by declaring his belief in the church's
own image of their created Enemy, he has declared his acceptance of the
medieval Christian character of the game they play; he has chosen the 'Party
Line', and his place of the side of the imagined Adversary. We do not define
the world in Christian terms, for we have essentially nothing to do with
Christian beliefs and practices. (This is not to say that these is no common
ground between Christianity and the Craft, for there is much that we share.)
Not so the Satanists, whose every practice is either a perversion or a
violation of some Christian form (e.g., the 'Black Mass', which Witches would
still consider a foolish and irreverent waste of time and energy, even if it
were otherwise harmless), or the more-or-less self-conscious pursuit of evil,
which cannot be seriously defended.
Though we are not believers in 'Satan', we do have a concept of evil, which I
will attempt to delineate: most of the problems we experience in life can be
thought of as arising from the four qualities of attachment, greed, fear, and
ignorance. These "qualities" cause us all great pain in life as they warp our
under-standing of events and cause us to respond in ways that hurt and
confuse. This is 'sin' in its' original meaning of error and mistake, and
often it is quite innocent of any desire or intent to hurt, mislead or abuse.
Evil is the result of adding a fifth quality to the others, that of self-
centeredness. When self-centeredness enters the picture, then the seeds of
evil truly exist. Self-centeredness allows the self-centered one to discount,
or even ignore, the feelings, the rights, and even the humanity of anyone
outside that narrow focus. It is just such 'object'-ifcation that allows
truly horrendous crimes to be committed, that creates characters such as Jim
Jones, Idi Amin, Josef Stalin, Torquemada, Cromwell, and Hitler. The same
self-centeredness, moved from the individual self to the group self, allows
war, slavery, torture, terrorism, profiteering, persecution and genocide. I
ask you to remember that this is my formulation of a Pagan concept of evil,
and may not be agreed to by others. Regarding the idea that Witches are
ignorant of the focus of their spirituality, I can only say that this is both
false and flatly insulting, much as it would be to state that Christians do
not worship Jesus, but a shoe salesman from New Jersey who they think is
What about these reports of Ritual murder, Sacrifices, and Cannibalism?
These things have nothing to do with us, and we have nothing to do with such
practices. We find the reports of such things disgusting and horrifying, for
we have and maintain a deep respect and reverence for all life; the suggestion
that we are involved in such things causes us great pain, for to be so
involved would run counter to everything we hold sacred. It would be, quite
literally, "against our religion".
Episodes of such anti-human, anti-life behaviour are attributable to
derangement and insanity, or to Satanists, who make no pretense of their
worship of Christianity's manufactured 'prince of darkness'.
So much the worse for us: because of the original program of opposition
against Wiccan (and by that extension, all) Paganism, all Satanists are
assumed to be Witches by definition.
It is interesting to note that, in the days when Christianity was new, the
Romans accused them of many of the same vileness: blasphemy, killing and
eating of children, trafficking with demonic spirits, ritual sacrifice. It is
also interesting that in the hey-day of the Roman church, Jews were subjected
to these appalling charges, which fuelled anti-Semitism right up to the Nazi
exter-minations. Indeed, such accusations seem almost to be a 'tradi-tional'
means of discrediting and destroying political/economic enemies (witness the
naming of the USSR as "an evil empire"). Perhaps the day will come when
pe ples of different ways can live together without accusing each other of
Why do you call Wicca a Religion, rather than a Cult?
Religions arise from principles and understanding and teach a way of life;
cults are based upon charisma and fascination, and are moti-vated by profit
and ascendancy. Religions thrive on independent conscious participation;
cults thrive on manipulation and obedience.
Wicca teaches a way of life based upon the perfection and perfect-ibility of
the spirit, closeness to the gods, right action, the gaining of wisdom, and
the Oneness of all life. In token and cele-bration of this, we come together
at our appointed times to worship and to share the love, joy and 'fellowship'
that life holds for us, and to take note of the lessons that the events of the
seasons, and of our lives, have to teach us.
Our religion is the wellspring of our joy; it is the sharing of the knowledge
that we are endlessly in the radiant presence of all that is holy, all that is
sweet and uplifting. It warms us and fills us and makes us whole, strengthens
our minds and clears our spirits. It is the knowledge of the love of our
Mother the Earth, who pro-vides for us even in our thoughtless and destructive
ecological folly, and who is more beautiful and more patient than praise can
express. It is the knowledge of the guidance of our Father the Hunter, who
quickens us, who teaches us love and laughter, wisdom and prudence. It is the
awareness that we share this world, this life with countless others; that each
of us both deserves the respect of, and owes respect to, the other children of
the Lord and the Lady.
Why does this Religion seem so strange to us?
It has been suggested that there are two kinds of religion: Type One, which has
been called 'primitive', believes in a cyclic, ever-renewing concept of time,
and a belief in reincarnation frequently accompanies this view. This type
encourages a sense of appreciation and oneness with Nature, and of personal
responsibility both practical and spiritual. Typically, a Type One religion
will have a dualistic and complementary images of Godhead, representing polar
aspects of Creation as male and female. The Pagan religions are Type One.
Type Two, which has been called 'revealed', believes in a literal beginning and
ending of Creation- a linear concept of time, with life considered as a one-
shot ordeal. Type two religions encourage a detachment from the world of
Nature and a reliance on authority (beyond the initial choice of whether or
not to follow orders); they will have a dualistic and antagonistic images of
Godhead, repre-senting polar aspects of Creation as good and evil.
Monotheistic religions such as Christianity are Type Two religions. Type One
and Type Two are so called because they are the first and second types,
respectively and sequentially, to show themselves in human affairs.
The typical American is raised Christian, has virtually no contact with members
of Type One religions, and little meaningful inter-action with members of the
other monotheisms (Judaism, Islam, Zoro-astrianism). As a result, most
opinions are formed based on the images that are provided by the culture,
and today this means the images provided by movies and television. From the
beginning, these images have been selected to amuse and shock, rather than to
en-lighten or inform. Truly, after nearly 2,000 years of exceptionally bad
press, Pagans of any sort from the 'superstitious' Hindu to the 'savage'
native American to the 'wicked' Witch, are notoriously easy targets for
caricature. One can only say, 'Please don't believe everything you see and
Why do Witches go off into the woods at night to worship?
First, we prefer to worship out-of-doors; as we are a nature religion, we
believe that no building can give us the sense of contact we feel when our
bare feet rest upon the Mother Earth, or the sense of blessing we feel when a
breeze caresses our skin. To worship is to enter the presence of God or the
Gods or Universe; so for us, worshipping inside a building is more like
leaving the Divine Presence.
Given that, the best place to do this would be in a quiet spot, not frequented
by picnickers, traffic, or smog; a place remote enough to minimize the
distractions of the man-made world. These days, there are few areas that
offer much along these lines, but there are still woods to be found, and when
we can, we worship there. The fact that trees are important symbols for us
only enhances the appeal of the woods.
So, why at night? There are several reasons: after dark, people go indoors &
get quiet - this enhances the peacefulness (as almost everyone knows) and the
serenity of our outdoor communion, which is important to us; also, the moon
for us is a symbol of the Goddess, and our rituals are synchronised with the
lunar phases - this makes nighttime appropriate to us, for night is when the
moon is most prominent.
There is one more reason we hold Circle (our worship) in the woods at night -
in practice, the more isolated we are, the safer we are. In our Circle site in
Lithonia, we were too close to go unheard, and too far to be understood; the
sad result of that incident was that we were driven away by wild rumors and
fears of the unknown.
If Witches are all the good things you say, what are you afraid of?
We are afraid of ignorance and of the violence that too often accompanies it.
To draw an example from history, the church-inspired inquisitions caused the
murder of 9,000,000 people. These people met their ends through torture,
starvation, burning, drowning and hanging; their property was seized by the
church, and their families were scattered. Many of them were forced to
watch loved ones suffer agonies while they awaited their turns. The only
accused who survived were those who 'confessed' to the most loathsome crimes
and outrageous - even nonsensical - acts, and recanted their 'here-sies'. All
who protested their innocence died.
Today in the 20th Century, members of the Craft have been fired from their
jobs, have been beaten, harassed, and sometimes murdered. Some have lost their
children in ugly legal battles, homes have been looted and burned, and
perfectly wholesome people have been declared anti-social and a menace to the
community. Yes, all these things do go on now, today, often perpetrated by
"well-intentioned" Christians in a state of great fear and utter ignorance.
This is the reason for this pamphlet: to bear a lamp in the darkness so that
this holocaust may finally come to an end, and innocent people may go about
their lives unafraid.
As an example of why we're afraid, the next question is pretty good:
The Bible says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"; Why should we?
The 'King James Version', on which virtually all English-language translations
are based, was begun and completed during the Burning Times (our term for the
anti-Pagan holocaust in Europe). Several terms were rendered as "witch" in
the final version. These terms were, roughly, "evil-doer", "poisoner", "one
who works harm in secret". We shall probably never know whether this
substitution was a matter of political calculation or honest error. I think
it likely that there was a healthy portion of each at work. Further, the
context of this passage is significant. At the time, the Israelites were
preparing to invade and conquer the land of Canaan. In this light, it is
highly possible that the original warning was against Canaanite saboteurs
and/or infiltrators, par-tisans working against the Israeli occupation. It
would take a deliberate decision to apply such a stricture against a different
people of another time in another land. It may be interesting to note, in this
context, that the warning (often quoted) against soothsayers, magicians, etc.
was specifically aimed at foreign practicioners. Jewish soothsayers, etc.
were not mentioned.
Are there any guidelines a Witch might be expected to live by? There are many
precepts that help us learn how to live in harmony. One of the most important
of these is personal responsibility. We hold that each of us is responsible
for choosing any and all words, deeds, opinions, thoughts, feelings and
responses. Another is called the Law of Three-fold Return. This teaches us
that we directly experience the results of our choices, deeds and behavior. It
works much like the 'golden rule'.
From these two, arises one that almost might be called 'the Witch's Motto': An
it harm none, do what ye will. This one carries much of the weight that the
Ten Commandments carries for Christians. It means that we are free to act as
we see fit, providing that no other person suffers injury, pain, anguish,
loss, or corruption, as a result of our actions.
Also, there are the 13 Wiccan Virtues, which also guide us in our growth and
spiritual development. These virtues are Tolerance, Charity, Humility,
Devotion, Patience, Kindliness, Forbearance, Sincerity, Courage, Precision,
Efficiency, Discrimination, and Wisdom. These are taken to a rather highly-
developed point in application, but not changed from the qualities one would
assume. I would like to point out that 'discrimination' refers to the skill of
recognising the fine points that make one person/place/situation/ moment
different and unique from any other. It has nothing to do with segregation,
or with injustice.
What does the number 13 mean to Witches?
Simply, it represents the 13 lunar months in a year; we celebrate the passage
of these months, or 'moons' in our rituals.
What are Wiccan rituals like?
In substance, they are no different from any other religion's obser-vances,
though they do look different.
We begin by preparing ourselves with prayer and meditation; we then 'cast the
circle'. The Circle is our temple, and it is built and purified for each
ritual; it usually has no overt form or structure, not even a chalk boundary,
but is always circular in shape. Every participant must declare themselves
free of malice, and ready to celebrate in a spirit of harmony and good-will
before they can be allowed to enter the Circle. Once all have gathered, we
use a group prayer (chanted by all, usually) to further unite us and elevate
our hearts, and to turn our minds toward the gods.
The priest and priestess (our clergy) then call upon the Lord and the Lady,
asking them to be with us - to recieve our love and blessings, and to share
their love and blessings with us. We share lessons and moral exercises at
this time, which serve to emphasise the spiritual focus and the significance
of the occasion. Through chanting and exaltation, we internalise these
lessons and this significance so that we may be in harmony with the unfoldment
of the Divine Purpose.
We then share bread and wine as a sign that, as children of the Gods, we share
in the bounty of nature and receive our nourishment from them. Thanksgiving
is then offered to the Lord and Lady, and to the Creation in which we take
part, and we recieve their bene-diction. A ritual is frequently followed by
food and fellowship. Most of our rituals are for worship, for spiritual focus
and devel-opment, and to harmonise with the Divine Purpose ("the Path"). We
also peform rites of passage and sanctification: namings
(christening/baptism), handfastings (marriage), and memorials (funeral rites),
What about Magic?
We do use magick for a variety of purposes (we spell 'magick' with a 'k' to
distinguish what we do from stage magic, with its connota-tions of illusion
and trickery): healing, behavior change (a witch only works on his or her own
behavior), and general self-improve-ment. These are the primary aims of
magick, as practiced by a witch who knows what she's doing! It is sometimes
true that someone will say, "I am a witch", and then do things that no witch
would do, just as some have claimed to follow Jesus, yet have done things in
his name that would never have gained his approval.
In this context, let me share something with you: no true witch will employ
magick to harm another; or to manipulate or influence another without the
knowledge and permission of the person to be affected. It is standard to get a
person's permission even before attempting to heal that person. This means
that love spells, hexes, curses, and "the evil eye", whatever that is, are
specifically out of line and out of the question for a true witch.
Other uses of magick include seeking guidance, protection, finding lost persons
or articles, to harmonise with the gods and with the natural life and cycles
of the planet Earth.
Magick is a way of approaching situations that allows one to bring all one's
abilities and internal resources into play. It is similar to Positive
Thinking, combined with self-awareness and a clear understanding of exactly
what one hopes to achieve. All this is done from within a focussed, prayerful
attitude to ensure that the effort is in harmony with the Divine Purpose.
Magick, done pro-perly, does work; and harmlessness is a major part of doing
it properly. It can be powerful, which is why no true witch will attempt to
teach magick to a person who is unstable or immature (remember, we consider
ourselves responsible for our acts and choices!); nor will any true witch use
magick to impress others, nor to enrich herself or himself at another's
How can I recognise a true Witch?
Witches are human, like anyone else; therefore, they are not perfect. A true
witch, however, will be actively involved in becoming the best, most complete
and well-balanced person that she or he can become. As a result, you should
be able to see all 13 of the Wiccan Virtues active in the person, though you
may not see them all at once, and perhaps not in their perfect expression. A
true witch tends to be active, good-humoured, perceptive of her own faults,
and tolerant of faults in others. There may in fact be no clear way of
recognising a witch as a witch; but if you know a witch, or someone who claims
to be a witch, my advice would be "By their fruits shall ye know them; for an
evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, neither can a good tree bear evil
On the off chance that I wanted to know more, where could I look?
Larger cities sometime have a group or two that are more or less "public".
This may give you a starting point if you actually want to talk to someone.
Try meeting with current and former members, if possible. For those with a
more academic interest, there are several books one can read:
Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler
This book is available at B.Dalton Booksellers, Waldenbooks and others. A
national journalist, Ms Adler has done a commendable job of sampling the
diversity of Wiccan/Pagan activity in the U.S. today.
Witches by T.C. Lethbridge
An older book, it provides some good historical data, along with some
Witchcraft from the Inside by Raymond Buckland
This was the first book I read, and I still think it gives a good picture of
the roots and history of Wicca as a religion.
The ABCs of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente
This book comes highly recommended by my friend and priestess, Lady
Galadriel, who suggests that I read it. For a general understanding of non-
The Masks of God, in 4 volumes by Joseph Campbell
When Mr. Campbell died earlier this year, he left behind a treasure-house of
researches and reflections on the nature and essense of religion on planet
Earth. This massive work is well worth the time taken to read it, as there is
brilliance on nearly every page. While he does not deal with the Craft as
such, he pro-vides superb insight into the world-view we share with other
pagan and monotheistic religions.
I have tried in this article to give respect to religious faiths other than my
own. Some of the historical facts regarding the relationship between the
Craft and Christianity are not pleasant to relate, and they may not be
flattering to hear; yet these things are matters of record, and they are
crucial to an understanding of a Wiccan position, so I have included them. I
have also, at times, used a 'voice' that is basic and direct, at the expense
of formal correctness, in an effort to give as clear and unambiguous a picture
of the Wiccan 'side' as possible. I have done so without malice, and I intend
only real communication; if you find some of this offensive, therefore, I ask
you to consider the 'gentleness' with which we have been treated over the
centuries, and find it in your heart to forgive me.
disclaimer I speak for no-one but myself;
however many witches might agree with me, I assume no right to speak for any
I am the sole author of this work, relying on my training and experience and
the reading and research of a lifetime in writing this work;
I am under no influence, nor working at the request of any other person;
therefore I am responsible for the contents;
I am indebted to the Grove of the Unicorn for my long and rich association with
the Craft, and for the training and practical experience I have received; they
share what virtue is here - any mistakes are my own.
If you feel moved to respond to this effort in some way, please contact me in
writing at: PO Box 13384, Atlanta, GA 30324.