Finding Your Way on the Sacred Path

Path
The Path

 

Finding Your Way on the Sacred Path

How did you find the Wiccan faith? Was it through a personal connection or was it through a book or website?

Wiccans until recently were hard to find. Many followers of the path work in secret, in the shadows. Why have all the secrecy?

This secrecy was vital because throughout history and even to this present day Wiccans (and other pagans) have been and continue to be discriminated against.

Face it, we are still a minority faith in this world. Most practitioners prefer to stay in the shadows because of the possibility of retaliation and prejudice found in family, school, work, and the general public. We know too well that there are general misconceptions and fear about the Craft. So many Wiccans practice in the shadow. (After all, I call my blog and my book The Hidden Children of the Goddess.)

So how is one to find a reliable teacher while so many teachers practice in the shadows?

You need some initial education. Books can be a great way to start. Read a bunch of books and you will start to see a pattern. Your intuition will alert you to who really knows valuable material and who may be offering faulty information.

Here is a good reading list to start your path. Those of you who have been on the path for a time may want to revisit some of these books. It’s important to have a good foundation in the Craft before moving on to the more advanced practices.

Reading List:

I invite you to consider my book:

 

SilverClaw, Moonwater. The Hidden Children of the Goddess: Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You, QuickBreakthrough Publishing (October 31, 2013)

And here are more books:

Buckland, Ray. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, 2nd Edition. Llewellyn Publications, 2002.

Buckland, Ray. Practical Color Magick. Llewellyn Publications, 1999.

Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs, The Essential Guide To More Than 125 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies. Rodale Inc 2009.

Cunningham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. Llewellyn Publications, 1989.

Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition. Llewellyn Publications; 1st edition (October 1985).

Ferrar, Janet and Stewart. Eight Sabbats for Witches, Revised Edition. Phoenix Publishing, WA, 1988.

Ferrar, Janet and Stewart. The Witches’ God: Lord of the Dance. Phoenix Publishing, WA, 1989.

Ferrar, Janet and Stewart. The Witches’ Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity. Phoenix Publishing, WA, 1987.

Ferrar, Stewart. What Witches Do. Robert Hale, 2010.

Fitch, Ed. A Grimoire of Shadows: Witchcraft, Paganism & Magick. Llewellyn Publications, 1996.

Frazer, James George. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, A New Abridgement from the 2nd and 3rd Editions. OxfordUniversityPress, USA, 2009.

Gardner, Gerald. High Magic’s Aid. Aurinia Books, 2010.

Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft. Red Wheel/Weiser, 2004.

Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today. Citadel, 2004.

Giles, Cynthia. The Tarot: History, Mystery, and Lore. Touchstone, 1994.

Graves, Robert. The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Amended and Enlarged Edition. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966.

Leland, Charles G. Aradia or The Gospel Of The Witches. Kessinger Publishing LLC, 2010.

Lipp, Deborah. The Way of Four: Create Elemental Balance in Your Life. Llewellyn Publications, 2004.

Marcoux, Tom. Darkest Secrets of Spiritual Seduction Masters: How to Protect Yourself, Boost Your Psychological Immune System and Strengthen Your Spirit. Tom Marcoux Media, LLC, 2011.

McCoy, Edain. Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways. Llewellyn Publications, 2001.

Murray, Margaret Alice. The God of the Witches. NuVision Publications, 2009.

Neal, Carl. The Magick Toolbox: The Ultimate Compendium for Choosing and Using Ritual Implements and Magickal Tools. Samuel Weiser, 2004.

Russell, Jeffrey B. and Alexander, Brooks. A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics & Pagans, 2nd Edition. Thames & Hudson, 2007.

Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess: 20th Anniversary Edition. HarperOne, 1999.

Sylvan, Dianne. The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition. Llewellyn Publications, 2003.

Tognetti, Arlene. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tarot, 2nd Edition. ALPHA, 2003.

Tognetti, Arlene and Flynn, Carolyn. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tarot Spreads Illustrated. ALPHA, 2006.

Valiente, Doreen. An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present. Phoenix Publishing, WA, 1988.

Valiente, Doreen. Natural Magic. Robert Hale, 1999.

Valiente, Doreen. Witchcraft for Tomorrow. Robert Hale, 1993.

Wood, Robin. Robin Wood Tarot: The Book. Robin Wood Enterprises, 1998.

Wood, Robin. When, Why … If. Robin Wood Enterprises, 1997.


Once you have read a number of books, you will have a basic familiarity with the Craft. Next, find a mentor in the particular Tradition (type) of Wicca you want to study.

The Witches’ Voice (witchvox.com) is a great place to read more articles and to network for new connections. You can find people who have taken the giant step (and risks) to be known in the community.

Observe carefully. Use your basic familiarity with the Craft and your intuition to find someone who you feel is a good match for your next steps in learning.

Each Tradition does the Craft a little differently. It’s not that one particular Tradition’s ritual is “wrong” compared to another Tradition. There are many ways of doing the same thing correctly.

How did you come to know the Craft? Let me know in the comments section. Thank you.

Blessings,

Moonwater

Moonwater SilverClaw Logo


How to Give Back to the Gods — and The Heron

The Heron Logo
The Heron

Ardea Herodotus

Perhaps you’ve noticed our new logo for this blog. It is the heron. Why this particular bird? The heron has been a representation of the Goddess for a long time. Below is the heron’s story as told by my friend Kay Pannell.


Ardea

The name Ardea Herodotus is the Linnaean classification for the heron. The Ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, wrote in the 8th Century BC. His history of the fall of Troy included this:

After the fall of Troy, Prince Aeneas traveled to the area around Rome. One of the lands he visited was the land of the Rutuli, whose capitol was Ardea and whose ruler was Turnus. Turnus had been betrothed to Livinia, daughter of a neighboring king.

Unfortunately, the king decided to give her to Aeneas instead. (You’d think after Aeneas’s brother Paris took Helen of Troy away from her husband, King Menelaus of Sparta, he’d have wised up about taking a woman away from a man with an army—but no). A war ensued between Aeneas’s fleet and Turnus’s army. During the hostilities, the city of Ardea was burned. Herodotus reported that from the ashes of the city a white bird arose that no one had seen before. It was the heron, and for ever afterward, the heron was called Ardea. When Carl Linnaeus began his classification in the 17th Century, he called the heron, Ardea Herodotus, for the story.

The word, Ardea, also translates as “earth goddess” in Greek.

 

Written by Kay Pannell


Thanks, Kay.

This story is here to stay. I hope you enjoyed it. Now here’s my post for this week.

 

How to Give Back to the Gods

How do I give back to the Gods? It’s something I think about daily. When I was younger I had no idea. But then I encountered this quote:

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.   – Leo Buscaglia

This hits the mark I think. We may not thing we have much to give back but all of us has something, our talent—the gifts the Gods have given us.

When we use our unique gifts to help others, the Gods smile upon us. For this is why we were given the gifts. To make each other’s lives more enjoyable.

Using your talents doesn’t mean you have to make it a business. You don’t need to produce products or live on a demanding schedule to serve others.

Maybe you like to cook or bake. Prepare some food and take it to a friend who is sick. Or take it to an elderly woman who lives alone and on a fixed income. This will mean a lot to someone who needs something but has no other way to get it. (Be careful to ask about dietary needs and allergies to guard the person’s health.)

If you don’t cook, do you play music? Go to a children’s hospital and play for the kids. You don’t need to book gigs and have tons of followers. You’ll still make an important difference in the hospital.

Can’t think of some particular gift to share? Donate some of your time and do volunteer work for some charity. For example, I donated time at The Peninsula Humane Society. I helped with the small animals.

Now, I write this blog. This came as a surprise because of my dyslexia. But I was led to writing by the Gods themselves. It’s hard to argue with that.

But you don’t need the Gods’ intervention to tell you what to share with others. Try something. You won’t know what is a helpful activity until you experiment a little.

Here are some possibilities:

Your local animal shelters

Retirement home/hospice

Homeless shelters

Soup kitchens for the homeless

Local Hospitals

The World Wildlife Fund

Green Peace

Habitat for Humanity

Consider looking up local organizations that need volunteers. Just donating a few hours a week can make a big difference.

Express compassion and love as you invoke your talents. This pleases the Gods.

By pleasing the Gods we honor them.

You can make a difference for the Gods.

How do you please the Gods with your talents? Let me know in the comments section. Thank you.

Blessed Be,

Moonwater SilverClaw

Moonwater SilverClaw Logo

P.S.

Don’t forget about the workshop, sign up now.

Real Magick Workshop
Real Magick Workshop

Buy the workbook Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magick now and give me the receipt number and get $10 off your ticket to the workshop! You can sign up for the workshop below. See you soon.

Herbs

The Herb Catnip
The Herb Catnip

Herbs

Wiccans use herbs for all sorts of things from medicine to protection. Humans have used herbal remedies made from plants for thousands of years. Herbs comprise the oldest medicines humans have had. Many Wiccans use herbs to heal and keep themselves healthy. Being witches we want to use nature as our healer when we get sick.

Before considering the use of herbs, heed these important considerations:

1) If you have a serious condition and/or illness, modern medicine should be used in conjunction with the old ways. For example, you shouldn’t skip a trip to a medical doctor because you have heard that St. John’s Wort would help with depression. Always consult with your medical doctor about herbs you’re considering because some herbs may conflict with medications your doctor has prescribed or over the counter medications–or even other herbs.

2) Avoid taking an herb that you are unfamiliar with. Some herbs can be quite dangerous if used incorrectly. Certain herbs are poisonous like Belladonna. So always talk with your herbal friendly medical doctor before taking them.

3) Some herbs you may buy at a new age store may only be graded for magickal use. This means do NOT take such herbs internally. Be certain that the herbs you buy are food grade safe. Just because feverfew tea helps reduce a fever does NOT mean that you shouldn’t use aspirin or some other modern medicine if the fever is really bad and doesn’t go down. Be smart and use your head. If your affliction is serious consult a medical doctor.

Having covered the above concerns, we will focus mainly on the magical uses of herbs.

The Sachet

First, we’re going to discuss a container for herbs known as a sachet. Take a small piece of cloth in a color that corresponds with the type of magick you will be doing. See this color chart below:

  • Red: sex, desire, vitality, strength, healing blood disorders
  • Orange: charm, confidence, joy, jealousy, persuasion.
  • Yellow: intellectual development, joy, intellectual strength.
  • Green: prosperity, abundance, fertility, money matters.
  • Blue: healing, protection, spiritual development.
  • Purple: The occult, power, magick
  • Pink: love, friendship, compassion
  • Black: decrease, death, revenge, retribution, contacting the dead. (I strongly suggest that you take great care if you have any thoughts about revenge or retribution. The focus points of revenge or retribution hurt the practitioner! Remember the Law of Three! I strongly recommend avoiding the use of black cloth except for the Samhain practice of contacting the dead.)

Place the piece of cloth down onto the table or working surface. Place selected herbs (about a tablespoon when all combined) in the middle of your cloth. You can use a smaller amount for a smaller more portable sachet if you like. This can be placed in your purse or pocket to be carried with you. Gather up your corners of the cloth and then tie them with some string. Make the sachet closed and secure. Now you can do a ritual to dedicate the sachet to its purpose.

Blessed Be,

Moonwater SilverClaw

Fear and Tolerance

Reflection under Bridge
Reflections about Tolerance and Acceptance

Fear and Tolerance

Powerful fear can be transformed into many things. We’ll talk about how fear turns into hate and how we can help resolve this problem.

Why do many people concentrate on differences instead of what we all have in common? Many people hate others based on race, sexual orientation and religion. These people focus on the differences. Only focusing on differences leads some people to fear. Fear then leads to hate because it’s natural to dislike what causes us discomfort.

Many people find Wicca to be quite different from what they call “mainstream faiths” in the western world. Misunderstandings can lead to fear and that can transform to hate. Unfortunately people don’t ask Wiccans, “What is Wicca all about?”

The problem is many people take some surface comment from some biased person and they let that comment give them an impression of Wicca. The biased person does not practice Wicca. To ask that person about Wicca is just like asking a plumber to fix your computer.

As children, many people were taught untruths about Wicca. But as adults, they stick with the false stories. Still, they simply do not ask a Wiccan about their spiritual path.

It’s not completely their fault. Life can be hard and we’re all so busy. We often just take a first impression and run with it.

Unfortunately, so much prejudice makes many Wiccan shy, and they avoid coming out of the “broom closet.” A few brave souls step out of the broom closet to speak to the world, but they often run into closed minds and hearts.

The media makes things worse. We know how the media sensationalizes things. News broadcasts feed on creating fear. This in turn generates hate.

So now we have lots of people who hate Wiccans. Much of this hatred could have been avoided.

It may be easy to blame people for their ignorance, but we need to move past that.

What would we tell people about Wicca? We tell them the truth. We as Wiccans believe in harming none. What does this mean? We believe killing is wrong. We believe stealing is wrong, whether it be someone’s lunch, car or spouse.

Many of our beliefs compare with core beliefs of other religions including Judaism, Islam and Christianity. We don’t lie, cheat, steal, kill and so forth.

So we worship in a different way, but we share similar values. We need to help others and ourselves focus on what unites us so we can build trust and understanding. Concentrating on our similarities will help dispel hate and bring us all closer together.

The Law Of Three

Pond
The Universal Pond

The Law Of Three

Let’s talk about the Law of Three, or the threefold law of return. Whatever energy you send out into the universe will get magnified three-fold and then returned to you. It is a simple principle. But when we observe this principle in action, it proves complex.

Imagine that we have a pond which we’ll call the “universe pond.” You have some stones in your pocket. The stones represent the actions you take in life and in turn, the energy you send out into the universe arising from those actions.

You drop a stone into the pond. Ripples move out from the stone’s entry point to the pond.

As energy created from your action, the ripples spread into the universe and grow in magnitude. Eventually they hit the edge of the pond and bounce back to you in their magnified form.

So the stone you dropped in the pond, (action you took in the universe, whether it was a positive action or a negative one,) comes back to you. Just like nature, the universe has a  self-regulating system, many people call this Karma.

So carefully choose your actions.

May the ripples return to you three-fold in positive energy.

Blessed be,

Moonwater SilverClaw

Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt
The Wild Hunt

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Jason Pitzl-Waters, founder of The Wild Hunt. He answered questions I had about his journey and his work. I truly feel Jason does a great service to our community and so I would like to introduce him to you.

Moonwater: How did you start on the path to Wicca?

Jason: I was first introduced to Wicca in high school when a friend loaned me a Raymond Buckland book (the big blue one). That moment was a completely life-altering moment. While I was dissatisfied with mainstream religion, and always interested in pre-Christian mythology, I had never thought that the worship of pre-Christian gods was something that people could do. From there I never looked back.

Moonwater: Who has influenced you the most on your journey with Wicca and why?

Jason: I would say my friends were my biggest influence on me, it was together that we fumbled through learning and experiencing Wiccan ritual. Later, I would meet formal covens, and a variety of experienced practitioners, but I think those early days shaped me in ways that persist to this day. Beyond that? I found the writings of Margot Adler and the Farrars pivotal in my early years.

Moonwater: What led you to blog for the community?

Jason: A dissatisfaction with the Pagan media led me to trying to do it for myself. This was the early days of the Internet, before social networking became dominant, and even before blogs were something pervasive. I remember wanting to know what was happening in our community, to know what our leaders, clergy, philosophers, were thinking about important issues. There were some useful sites, Witchvox, for example, but nothing that captured the sort of advocacy journalism I yearned for. So I became the change I wanted to see in my community, and here I am!

Moonwater: What book or books have influenced you in your practice of Wicca the most?

Jason: Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, A Witches’ Bible Compleat by Janet and Stewart Farrar, The Spiral Dance by Starhawk, and later, The Triumph of The Moon by Ronald Hutton.

Moonwater: For someone who is just starting on their own path with Wicca, what would you tell them was the most important thing to know about it?

Jason: The interconnectedness and sacredness of nature, and by extension, the turning of the wheel of the year. Everything springs from there, our wisdom, our joy, our fertility, and our gods and goddesses.

I just want to say thank you to Jason for his time for this interview. Please visit The Wild Hunt to see what Jason has to say on the pagans days events.

Blessed Be,

Moonwater SilverClaw


Blogger Jason Pitzl-Waters
Jason Pitzl-Waters

Jason Pitzl-Walter’s Biography:

Since launching “The Wild Hunt” in 2004, Jason Pitzl-Waters has become one of the leading voices for analysis and insight into how modern Pagan faiths are represented within the mainstream media. In addition, “The Wild Hunt” has also conducted in-depth interviews with prominent figures within modern Paganism, academia, and religion journalism. Jason wants to raise the level of discourse and journalism on important issues within the modern Pagan and Heathen communities, while advocating a broader commitment to encouraging religious multiplicity and solidarity (where appropriate) with surviving indigenous and non-monotheistic faith groups.

In addition to his work with The Wild Hunt, Jason has also written for newWitch MagazinePanGaia MagazineThorn Magazine, and Llewellyn Worldwide. He also maintains a weekly podcast entitled“A Darker Shade of Pagan” that explores underground music from a Pagan perspective.

Jason is a former Board of Director member of Cherry Hill Seminary, and is coordinating The Pagan Newswire Collective, an open collective of Pagan journalists, newsmakers, media liaisons, and writers who are interested in sharing and promoting primary-source reporting from within our interconnected communities.

You can contact Jason at jpitzl at gmail dot com

Offerings

Leaf Offering
Leaf Offering

Offerings

Why do we give “offerings” to our Gods and what is an offering. When we ask the Gods for their help, and we receive it, we offer them thanks through offerings; so an offering is our way of saying thank you for the Gods’ help.

Now what is an offering? Offerings are things we sacrifice up to the Gods in thanks for their help.

Offerings can be things like:

I find the more I say “thank you” with an offering, the Gods really appreciate the gesture, after giving an offering, good luck often finds me. I have even made offerings just to show them how appreciative I am of all they do for me. Just because.

So how do I make the offering? Take (for example) a candle and state the name of the deity and why you are offering up the candle to him/her.

Here is an example of what you can say:

Squat, I thank you for the parking spot you gave me! I honor you with this candle.”

Then light the candle making sure to burn it all the way down.

This also helps us create a stronger bond with our Gods.

Offerings, Gratitude and Good News

Many of you have noticed the donation button on the sidebar of the blog. This button is there to help me keep this blog the Hidden Children of the Goddess going. It pays for helping keep the ads off the blog and maintenance fees, and recover registration fees.

Offerings, donations and gifts are an uplifting way to participate in life and in our community. Well, good news has come. Arthur has donated funds so we will be free of ads for one whole year. So I put out a big thank you to Arthur! I know a number of people who feel good when they are kind and helpful to another person or cause outside themselves. Helping others by being of service is why I blog. I am grateful to Arthur for his wonderful donation to help us and to help me continue my service.

Wondering how to donate to this blog? All you have to do is click the donate button on the sidebar and you can enter in any amount you like. It’s that simple, and it really helps the site.

Again, thank you Arthur!

Blessed Be,

Moonwater Silverclaw