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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who am I?

My magickal name is Shadow Moon and I'm going to tell you about my new found practice of Wicca. If you don't know what Wicca is there are plenty of websites you can go to, one of them is Wicca:For the Rest of Us at http://wicca.timerift.net/ . It has some down to earth articles about what Wicca is and isn't.

Some of you may have been taught that Wicca is a byproduct of Satanism, this is simply not true. It is a religion created about fifty years ago by a man named Gerald Gardner when he published a book titled Witchcraft Today in 1954. He supposedly met some witches in Dorset, England, and they called themselves the New Forest Coven. He wanted to preserve their tradition and wrote the book based on their practice.

Wicca maybe an ancient idea, but it isn't an unbroken chain, mainly because information was destroyed during the Burning Times. During this time witches, mostly women, and other outcasts like the Jews, were tortured in the name of the Christian God. This happened all over Europe and even in America at the famous Salem Witch Trials.

Christianity was used to gain money, power and control over the many Pagan cultures still practicing in 18th century Europe. They often used Pagan gods and goddesses in efforts to convert also. For example the Celtic poetry muse goddess, Brigid, is also the Saint Brigid in Catholicism. Also Saint Patrick did not cast out snakes in Ireland, in fact there never were any, it was a direct symbol of the Druids, another nature based Pagan practice, being chased out of their native home. So you can see Christians had to make Pagans Satan worshipers because they were a threat to the Catholic Church.

In Wicca there is no Satan, instead there is a god and goddess, Lord and Lady, who are symbolized through nature and ritual, giving life and birth to the universe. Everything contains these sacred energies, including you and me, and with these energies we can preform magick and ritual with the god and goddess.

The god and goddess themselves have many faces: Luna, Isis, Selene, Freya, Brigid, Athena, Diana, Zeus, Hades, Saturn, Horas...and thousands more, but they are all of the god and goddess. Some just follow a a general form of the god or goddess and others take god and goddess' who reflect on them, empower them and inspire them. I keep it simple and follow a very organic form of the god or goddess, using their basic energies to aid me.

Wiccans do have a moral code, the simplest form is "Do what ye will, but harm ye none." The actual Rede is longer, but this is the gist. It's important that you understand Wicca is not a free for all practice full of angry teenagers hexing each other during study hall. This is a Hollywood version of the Craft, not the real version, which it true for almost any television show. So instead of looking to television you should read up on the Craft and go to places like panganspace.net to communicate with Wiccans and other Pagans.

Some Wiccans are solitary and others join a coven. There is some controversy about this, but I honestly beleive the god and goddess don't care as long as your intentions are pure. Covens are groups of people, usually men and women, who practice rituals and some spells together, which is awesome because when so many are focused on a goal it's truly a spiritual power trip. When in a Coven a newly dedicated will go through a year and a day of study, as reference to the time it took Cerridwen, a Welsh legendary witch, to make her potion, after which they will be officially apart of the Coven and can continue through two more years of study to eventually become a Priest/Priestess of the god and goddess.

In the solitary, you are the motivation for the study, you are the Priest/Priestess for the rituals, it still takes alot of work and even if you do work hard you are often not recognized by an official Coven, despite your knowledge of the Craft.

There are also many tools and practices attributed to Wicca, but I'm going to let you look those up for yourself, because I'm in no way qualified and you should never trust what anyone tells you. Do your own research, teach yourself, and follow your own path.

As to why I became a Wiccan, or at least studying to be, I played in nature as a child and felt content with my Christian faith, but this was before I completely understood how twisted people can make a religion. I saw Christianity as a suppressing religion to women of intelligence and my personal views just twisted the arms of Christians at times. I tried to conform, but despite my research into the Bible through Valley Christian High School, I discovered the Christian God was not my god.

So I spent my teenage years searching for something unobtainable and began to progress into role-playing-games like Werewolf: the Apocalypse which focused on a goddess named Luna. It may sound a little weird, but I beleive the goddess reached out to me thought a RPG. After a while I met some Wiccans and realized how similar our thoughts were: we wanted equality of the sexes, were liberal, environmentally conscious, every idea just clicked together.

I read their books, like Solitary Witch, and discovered what Wicca offered to me was everything I was searching for. I gladly took up every book on Wicca I could find and began to study. The library is a great resource for books on the cheap. I'll give you a list of Wicca 101 suggestion at th end.

It wasn't until about my fifth month of study where I decided to do my first esbat , a ritual you preform for each full moon, sabbats are rituals concerning the equinox and such, more on that later, or just look it up. Anyway, I snuck out of my room around midnight with my candles and other tools in hand and began my ritual to honor the god and goddess under the moonlight. I cast a circle of protection and asked the four directions, South-fire, East-air, West-water and North-earth to assist and witness my rite.

Luckily it wasn't too cold as I sat awkwardly in my flower garden I chanted for the goddess to endow me with wisdom, peace, harmony... as the fire burned atop candles, and the ensence billowed out of the small cauldron. I was scared my parents were going to find out and throw me to the Christian wolves, but finally I relaxed and I left my body in a trance.

I floated about my large backyard and saw a silver and black Asian dragon circle around the full moon in a misty dance and then Luna came down to see me. She was beautiful, white silvery hair waving weightlessly as her pregnant form glided to me. Her silver robes sparkled and her eyes were a bright as diamonds. She asked me to come with her and she told me everything on this planet consisted of both male and female energies, and I mustn't forget that. She treated me like her long lost child, calling me little one and I asked her to bestow a magickal name.

A magickal name, or Craft name, is a name you can choose to personify your self in rituals or spells. It can be public or private and should be chosen carefully. There is nothing wrong with changing your magickal name, because everyone grows, but switching from this to that is silly and disrespectful. My name is Shadow Moon and it was given to me by the goddess in the form of Luna and she said herself it would change and grow, but for now, because I have to hide, Shadow Moon is my name.

Books I recommend:

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

Wicca: A Guide For the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham

Animal Magick by D.J. Conway

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews Scott Cunningham

Book of Shadows by Phyllis Curott

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess by Leonard Shlain

The Everything Paganism Book

Pagans & Christians : the personal spiritual experience by Gus diZerega.

The complete idiot's guide to Wicca and Witchcraft

Wicca for beginners : fundamentals of philosophy & practice by Thea Sabin

21st century Wicca : a young witch's guide to living the magical life by Jennifer Hunter

If you have any questions please e-mail me at shadowmoonofluna@gmail.com

Blessed be.

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