This is the outline for a collection of four semi-formal training sessions 
for people interested in starting out in "The Craft" or Neopaganism.  It is 
intended to give enough grounding to effectively participate in ritual, 
with the expectation that those that are really dedicated, skilled, and/or 
interested will undertake further study.
Since this is for beginners, there are no textbooks, no required reading, 
and the course only deals with such material as can be taught in four 1-1/2 
to 2 hour informal sessions.

I.  DAY ONE: Neopagan Traditions

    The first day's material is a basic overview of Neopagan history and 
    tradition, intended to make people more comfortable with the subject.  

    A.   History of The Craft

         Examine two topics to show how they influence the modern witch: 
         how Neopagan witchcraft grew out of and borrows from the 
         Gardnerian Reformation, and how our Craft Law developed from a 
         variety of traditions and needs.  

         1.   Origins, Ancient (?) and Modern

              Fact before theory: discuss the evolution of witchcraft
              from Gardner onwards, then overview the evidences that
              witchcraft is a pre-Christian and (possibly) pre-historic

              a.   The Gardnerian Reformation

                   Discussion of Gerald Gardner and both the original and 
                   modern versions of Gardnerian Witchcraft (with a quick 
                   side-line into its off-shoot and competitor, Alexandrian 

              b.   The Church of All Worlds and Neopaganism

                   History of the Church of All Worlds and its contri- 
                   butions, including the word "neopagan" and "Green Egg", 
                   the journal in which the framework of modern, Neopagan 
                   witchcraft was developed from the framework of 
                   Gardnerianism crossed with Greco/Roman and Egyptian 
                   pagan traditions.  

              c.   The Non-Pagan Branches of the Craft

                   Other types of witches: Feminist Wicca, Church of Wicca,
                   the Masonic Druids of England, and the Family Tradition-

              d.   Evidences of Stone-Age Witchcraft

                   Discuss some of the evidence that witchcraft carries on
                   a tradition with stone-age origins and a 10,000 year
                   history, both pro and con.  Emphasize that there is no
                   conclusive evidence one way or the other.

         2.   Craft Law, Ancient and Modern

              a.   The Reasons for Craft Law

                   Discuss how the in-bred fear of of the Powers of Evil, 
                   combined with the need to trust each other against the 
                   Inquisition, gave birth to the concept of Craft Law.  

              b.   The Wiccan Rede

                   "An it harm none, do what thou will."  Stress both the
                   libertine and the disciplinarian interpretations of that
                   law.  Discuss the Law of Karma, and how the Wiccan Rede
                   (interpreted properly) becomes more of a safety rule 
                   than a Commandment.

              c.   The Rule of Secrecy

                   Gloss quickly over the Inquisition (everybody knows 
                   enough), and examine some of the evidence that a "witch-
                   hunt" is being begun.  Encourage the students to 
                   recognize that the decision to be public or secretive 
                   has to be made by each individual, and they have the 
                   right to expect others to respect their privacy on this 

         3.   Magick in Theory and Practice

              Magick is the unifying force in all of the Neopagan 
              Traditions.  To lay the groundwork for Day Two, explain the 
              basic theories of magick, and how they influence the design 
              and practice of Neopagan ritual.  

              a.   The Basic Rules of Magick

                   Explain that the central theory of magick is that
                   reality can be altered by a sufficiently strong will,
                   focused by the proper ritual. For comparison and 
                   contrast, mention Bell's Hypothesis, from quantum
                   physics.  Discuss seriously the possibility that all
                   that the magician alters is his own mind and awareness
                   of how the world works.

              b.   Magick and Neopagan Ritual

                   Define the two classic types of ritual: religious and 
                   magickal, or (better terms) theurgical and thauma- 
                   turgical.  Show how magick is used in both, and where 
                   the rituals diverge.  

    B.   The Magick Circle

         Even more than the pentacle, the Magick Circle is the central
         symbol of Neopagan Witchcraft.  The final topic for Day One is
         the purpose, symbolism, and protocols of a pagan Circle.

         1.   Purpose and Symbolism

              a.   Ceremonial Magic and Qabbalism versus the Pagan Circle

                   Most people get their idea of what a circle is for from 
                   the Ceremonial magicians and kaballists, who use it for 
                   protection from outside magick.  Emphasize that the 
                   quantum leap that Gardner made was to think of using the 
                   circle INSTEAD to keep beneficial magick WITHIN the 
                   ritual area until it is fully built-up, focused, and 

              b.   The Power of the Circle: The Five Elements

                   Discuss how the classic Four Elements of Greek science
                   are the symbols for four types of power, four states of
                   matter, four types of personality, and so forth, showing
                   correspondences.  Highlight the difference between
                   elemental power, psychic power, and divine power - and
                   the similarities.  Explain how the elements are used
                   in casting the circle.

              c.   Ritual Tools

                   Discuss one-by-one the tools that a witch uses to focus 
                   her mind - the athame, the elemental symbols (salt or a 
                   pentacle for earth, a candle or lamp for fire, the 
                   incense and the wand for air, the chalice for water), 
                   the magic mirror, the sword, candles, herbs, and the use 
                   of images.  

         2.   Conduct within the Circle

              Two final bits of information needed inside the circle: the
              directions of casting and the integrity of the circle.

              a.   Widdershins and Deosil

                   Define the terms (deosil = clockwise, widdershins = 
                   counter-clockwise).  Explain that widdershins is often 
                   mistaken for evil, but show that the difference is more 
                   accurately raising or bannishing power.  Stress that, in 
                   order to get along, when in doubt, go deosil.  

              b.   The Integrity of the Circle

                   Remind people that, since no evil magick is involved, 
                   there is no RISK involved in leaving a circle. However, 
                   stress that since a circle is supposed to CONTAIN energy 
                   it should not be punctured hastily or unnecessarily.  
                   Teach how to open and close gateways in the circle, and 
                   when to and not to do so.  


    The second day's concentration is on the mental aspects of magick and 
    ritual work, and is mostly in workshop form.  

    A.   Meditation

         Describe meditation as a means of altering your mental state by 
         relaxation and concentration.  Contrast meditation and trance 
         state.  Discuss the use of posture (asana) and paradoxical 
         breathing (pranayama) to attain a meditative state, then do a few 
         quick exercises.  

    B.   Visualization(s)

         Explain the difference between imagining and visualizing, then 
         stress the similarities.  Stress the fact that visualization is 
         something that you will continually get better at - but there is 
         still no "wrong way."  Then lead the students through the 
         following exercises: 

         1.   Grounding and Centering

              Using the seven chakras as steps along the way, guide them to 
              visualize energy being drawn up from the Earth and blown 
              through the tops of their heads (at the crown chakra) in a 
              free-flowing fountain.  Then (if they seem up to it), guide 
              them to mold and direct that energy flow into a circle, then 
              a sphere of blinding white light.  Have them draw the circle 
              back down through their spines until it is returned to the 

         2.   Contacting Your Magickal Self

              Get them as relaxed as possible and in a deep meditative 
              state, then starting with a visualization of a Safe Place in 
              the forest, lead them to a fairy hill, then through the Maze 
              of the subconscious until they are somewhat lost.  Guide them 
              to a long stairway, then through the door at the top.  Then 
              set the mental setting - that at the doorway they change into 
              a powerful magician, and suddenly all of the tools and 
              symbols in the room are meaningful.  Instruct them to study 
              the tools for a while.  After a minute or two, lead them back 
              out through the maze, then to the clearing, and wake them 
              back up.  

         3.   Aura Reading and Healing

              a.   Diagnosis 

                   Guide them to ground and center (as II.B.1, above), then 
                   stand in front of an evenly-lit white wall.  Have them 
                   open their eyes and stare at a point in the distance 
                   beyond the instructor.  (Note: this will for some of 
                   them be the first time that they'll be channeling power 
                   with their eyes open, so take your time.)  Instruct them 
                   to look for the greyish line around me (that is actually 
                   an optical illusion).  Once they've found it, instruct 
                   them to visualize it being replaced with a wash of 
                   color.  Have them examine it for variations in thickness 
                   or color.  

              b.   Treatment 

                   Point out an ill or sore region on the instructor's 
                   body.  Have them examine it for variations in color or 
                   brilliance.  Pick one student, then have him wrap his 
                   hands in the energy that he's drawing, then "tune" it to 
                   the color of the healthy areas in the aura.  Instruct 
                   him to use his hands as if he were rubbing on oil or 
                   paint to color over the sick area, visualizing the new 
                   color (healthy energy) replacing the older area, and 
                   continue until the color stays changed after he's no 
                   longer touching it or until he gets tired.  


    The previous two courses teach the full minimum necessary to work solo
    magick.  The remaining two days will concentrate on group ritual.  In
    Day Three, we will discuss the basic techniques.

    To explain the outline, relate the outline of the three Essentials of
    Eastern magick - mandalla, mantra, and mudra.

    A.   Mantra - Music and Chanting

         Discuss the three types of mantra most often used in Neopagan
         ritual: memorized chants (for creating and focusing the Group
         Mind), impromptu chanting (for advanced meditation and growing
         together), and plainsong (for worship).

         1.   Memorized Chants

              Teach them the chants listed below.  Then run quickly (for 
              familiarization purposes only) through "We Wander Now", "Hoof 
              and Horn", "Burn Bright", "Circle 'Round the Fire", and any 
              others that I can remember on the spot.  

              a.   "We All Come from the Goddess"

                   We ALL - COME from the GODdess
                   AND to HER we SHALL reTURN
                   LIKE a DROP - OF - RAIN
                   FLOWing TO the O-CEAN (repeat)
              b.   "I Circle Around"

                   I CIRcle aROUND, I CIRcle aROUND ...
                   the BOUN-'DRIES OF the EARTH ...
                   WEARing my LONG tail FEAthers AS I GLIDE ...
                   WEARing my LONG tail FEAthers AS I GLIDE ... (repeat)
              c.   "Air I Am"

                   (evenly spaced, every syllable emphasized)

                   Air I am,
                   Fire I am,
                   Water, Earth and Spirit I am ... (repeat)

              d.   "The Goddess Chant"

                   iSIS, aSTARte, diANna, HECaTE,
                   deMEter, KALi - inNAna (repeat)

         2.   Impromptu Chanting

              Discuss the uses of impromptu chanting: ecstatic magick 
              (where one can't count on elaborate chants) and for deep 
              probing rituals, where they are used for free association.  
              As an example, demonstrate the three-word style that Starhawk 
              teaches in SPIRAL DANCE.  Emphasize the use of beat and tempo 
              as unifying factors.  

         3.   Plainsong

              For contrast, sing the NROOGD classic, "O Earth Mother" to 
              demonstrate that not all ritual music needs to be in the form 
              of basic chants.  

    B.   Mudra - Movement and Dance

         1.   Ritual Dance

              (This section has not yet been finalized.  Current plans 
              focus on simple circle-dance steps, the famed "spiral dance",
              and then brief discussion of free-form dance and ecstatic

         2.   Theater Techniques

              Remind people that one of the purposes of ritual is to catch 
              and hold the attention of Child Self, and point out that the 
              language that Child Self speaks best is melodrama.  Instruct 
              them that gestures and actions in the Circle should speak 
              loud enough that words are not necessary.  Then, since they 
              undoubtedly won't get the point, do two exercises to rub 
              their noses in it.  

              a.   Banishing Exercise

                   Set up a circle, then pick out someone who seems to know 
                   a bit about magick.  Get him to go to one of the 
                   quarters and ground and center.  Then have him visualize 
                   a threat approaching from his quarter, and tell him to 
                   do a banishing.  (He will inevitably do something 
                   traditional, elaborate, and sterile.)  Relax him, then 
                   ask the class how THEY would have reacted, if THEY were 
                   attacking the circle, to what he had done.  Pick an 
                   absolute novice, put him in the same place, ground and 
                   center, pump them up with melodrama and heroics, then 
                   describe a different menace and instruct them to scare 
                   it off, turn it away (don't use the word "banish").  See 
                   if the gestures aren't more dramatic.  

              b.   Charging Exercise

                   Pick a couple who seem to know a bit about magick (if 
                   possible), and have them ground, center, and use the 
                   wand and chalice for a symbolic Great Rite.  (See if 
                   they do anything more sexual than just stick the wand 
                   into the cup - I doubt it.)  Relax them, then point out 
                   to the class that the energies to be raised in this 
                   exercise are to be earthy and sexual, EXACTLY like the 
                   "rush" or thrill of heavy flirtation.  Then pick the 
                   most COMPATIBLE-looking couple (if possible) and repeat 
                   the exercise (and see if they don't make it more 


    Today's lecture has two purposes.  First, we will deal with the 
    legends, meta-legends, and conventions that form the basis for most 
    Neopagan ritual.  Then we will discuss the purposes behind a witchcraft 
    initiation, and walk through the one that the graduates of this class 
    will perform.  

    A.   Theology/Thealogy 

         Theology and thealogy (the alpha-ending, Thea, being the Greek 
         feminine ending) are outlined to show how Neopagans relate to 
         their own and other people's choices of gods.  The hook on which 
         this will all be hung is that most of the Gods represent facets of 
         human experience personified.  

         1.   Forms of the God 

              Discuss the various types of masculine gods that appear in 
              pagan and Neopagan myth: the Sun-child, the Horned Hunter, 
              the Sensitive Artist, and the Lord of Death.  

         2.   Forms of the Goddess 

              Discuss the image of the Three-Fold Goddess: the Maiden, the 
              Mother, and the Crone.  

    B.   The Wheel of the Year 

         Read aloud the story of the Wheel of the Year from THE SPIRAL 
         DANCE, pages 28 and 29.  Point out that this is the solar 
         calendar, and relate it to the agricultural cycle.  Then add the 
         mystical component by telling the story of Persephone's descent 
         into the underworld, showing how it relates to the Wheel.  

    C.   Initiation 

         Tell the story of how Osiris was slain by his jealous brother, 
         Set, and how his sister/wife Isis went down into the Underworld to 
         gain the secret of resurrection from the dead (for reminders, use 
         Wilson's account in COSMIC TRIGGER).  

         Discuss how Isis's humiliation in the land of the dead compares to 
         the psychology of initiation (with a brief aside into Paul's 
         revelation of Eleusis: "Except a seed of grain fall into the Earth 
         and die, it cannot rise again").  Use this and the discussion from 
         Day One of how Craft Law arose to outline the dual purpose of a 
         witchcraft initiation:  to lead the initiate through humiliation 
         and death into elevation and new life, and to bind the initiate to 
         the laws necessary for the group experience of the Craft.  

         Finally, if time permits, do a walk-through of the initiation to 
         familiarize the candidates with it, then give them their scripts 
         to memorize.
ough of the initiation to 
         familiarize the can