Saturday, June 13, 2009

Psychic Test: A Brief History of WitchCraft

covens seem to have existed during the burning times(the catholic witch hunts from 1300-1600), but whether all thoseburned, hanged, stoned, drowned and etc. (varying from 100,000documented cases to 9 million estimated cases), were witches is adebatable point. The Witchcraft mythos say that we are descendedfrom the ancient Goddess worshippping peoples whose religion gotpushed underground by the Christians circa 500 ce. This may betrue, but it is impossible to prove If the Goddess's priestess didindeed survive in the form of goody-wives and herb-women, theirreligion must have been carefully concealed and cautiously passedon in an oral form.We personally think that though there were indeed pagan tracesleft all over and incorporated into christianity, this doesn'tnecessarily mean that they were Goddess worshippping pagan traces.Patristic paganity had taken over the Goddess worshippping peoplefor more than 1500 years by the start of christianity.Modernly, somewhere in 1940 an English civil servant with apenchant for whipping and bondage, Gerald Gardener, got himself"initiated" into a "New Forest" coven in England. A long-timewitch Sybil Leek, from the New Forest who didn't particularlyappreciate Gerald, confirms it. Once Gardner had his hands on therituals Old Dorothy taught him, he decided that they werefragmentary and needed to be reconstructed. And here we have anodd little problem. Gardner had worked in a Ritual Magician'slodge with Aleister Crowley, a long-time family acquaintance ofSybil Leek's. Crowley was a consumate showman bent on shockingthe public. Sybil was always sad about him, feeling that he hadstrayed from the true path of the Craft, but he was apparentlyborn to one of the hereditary witch families of England. In spiteof this, his Ritual Lodge was based on his interpretations of theMagical Lodge of the Golden Dawn, a tradition started in 1890.Old Dorothy handed to her neophyte, Gardener, the treasured andcared for rituals that she and her coven had preserved for agespast. Gardener decided that the rituals were fragmentary and hiredCrowley to "reconstruct" them. A very public Witchcraft movementwas started by this. Gardener published and got onto TV a lot inthe fifties and sixties. Alex Saunders who managed to steal oneof his books of shadows and start his own Craft current, was knownto the TV media in England as "The King of Witches."These Craft currents were very hierarchical, male dominated(though token bows were given to the women), secretive, and untilvery recently totally heterosexual. They work on the ritual magicimage of the sexes being opposite and use this thought form tocreate images of electrical generators from sexual tension betweenmale and female. Gardnerians circled nude, used their cords totie initiates and scourge them as part of the initiation. Thereare no orgies however. The nudity was to encourage the "magic"which was thought to be inhibited by the robes. Present dayGardnerians mostly circle robed.Other Craft currents are the Alexandrian, similar to Gardnerian.The Dianic, a non-patristic oriented spirituality, birthed byMorgan Fairchild, encouraged by Z Budapest (a hereditary witchfrom Eastern Europe) and Marion Weinstein. The Fairie, a highlyeclectic movement and the Radical Fairies, a Gay men's grouping.Also we have the eclectic people who study religious archeologyand arrive at a synthesis that speaks to the modern day witch in amodern context. The biggest of these is called NROOGD (NewReformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn) and the solitaries,people who are witches but belong to no group.We feel a large percentage of human beings have a very strong needfor a spiritual experience. Each human is different, however. Inour expressions of religion we tend to vary greatly. Thus we havemany religions extant today in America and the World. People mustfind the religion that fits their souls. For SunBear and Salmon,this religion is the religion of Wicca, Witchcraft.

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