WITCHES--Who Are They?
                               Queen Ellery

Witchcraft was commonly beleived to be associated with Satanism and
devil worship. During the "Age of Discovery," millions of Witches
were killed throughout the world in a great holocaust whose existance
is yet denied by many in the Christian community today.
    I am a Witch. I am not a Satanist. I worship Nature and I also
    practice magic for personal development and for the welfare of
    others. My religion is called Wicca--a faith that is being
    practiced by thousands of others in Canada today. Fear of 
    Witchcraft     is based upon ignorance and superstition, against
    which I offer the following information.

Witches are ordinary people. THey practice their religion in private;
a custom that has been observed since the Burning Times of the 15th 
to 18th centuries. In those days, seven million Europeans alone were
killed by Christian fanatics after being labeled as devil worshippers.
In reality, the Witches' religion is a combination of Pagan festival
observances and folk magic. Today, many Witches combine a private worship
called Wicca with a public expression of conscience through participation
in various human rights and ecology movements.

Modern Wiccans are diverse in their beliefs. They have no sacred texts,
no written code, and no central authority. Their social unit is the
coven: a group of three to thirteen people who meet to worship the
old Nature Gods and work magic in a spirit of "Perfect love and perfect
trust." When they greet each other it is with the phrase "Merry meet,
merry part, and merry meet again," or "Blessed be." Their ethics are
both individualistic and responsible as expressed in the Wiccan Rule:
"Do as you will, if it harms none." This is not the undisciplined
freedom of a wastrel. To follow this rule in its full meaning
requires that one act according to one's true nature and accept all
the consequences of one's acts.
An obvious difference between Wicca and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic
religions is in the concept of sin, especially as it is applied to
sexuality. Wiccans reject this idea; in fact, their religion often
expresses gender polarity in a joyous, sexual manner. They worship
the Great Goddess who is reported by certain Wiccan traditions as
telling Her followers: "All acts of love and pleasure are My 
Their Deities are emblems of the seasonal changes of Nature in the 
eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The Gods of Nature are
subtle Beings that personify both the Light and the Dark forces. 
As such, They represent the great mysteries, like the Christian 
mystery of the Ressurection of Jesus Christ, that cannot be 
explained--only experienced.
They believe in reincarnation. Instead of seeing Death as either an 
eternal reward or an eternal punishment, Wiccans view it as a state of
peace and spiritual rest. THey see Life and Death forming the cycle 
that they observe in the seasons of the year. Their two major festivals
are held six months apart, at May Day and Halloween. May Day is a 
celebration of Life, with its may pole phallus evoking dances of sexual
liberation--a time when the first green growth of the year bursts forth.
Halloween is a celebration of Death, with its jack o' lantern skull 
evoking memories of the dead--a time when the Hunter's Moon shines upon
the killing frosts. Wiccans know that the death of the older plants and
animals seen at Halloween is necessary to the life of the young 
ones seen at May Day. 
Wiccans believe their religion to be true to the spirit of the earliest
cultures of Paleolithic Europe in that they respect the Earth, the 
regenerative powers of Nature, and the divine Masculine and Feminine 
principles that humankind began to worship more than twelve thousand 
years ago. And Wiccans believe magic transforms their lives and serves
as a balance to the materialism of modern industrial society. 
They do not proselytize; but they do teach religious tolerance. Wicca
is not for everyone, they say. All paths lead to the Centre, and Wicca
is but one path. A Path is but a path--not the Destination.
    Blessed be,  Ellery
Ottawa, Ontario, July-1993