Various Trads & Practices

#•1734 ~ The 1734 Wiccan tradition was developed by Robert Cochrane, a British poet and philosopher. He sought to restore the "Old Religion". The 1734 tradition is developed out of a series of correspondence between Robert Cochrane and Joseph Wilson, an American. The number "1734" is not a reference to the year. Instead, it is a cryptogram, a title for the name of the goddess. The 1734 tradition is not require the use of a common Book of Shadows and there is no official hierarchical structure. It focuses on meditation, chanting, channeling, and visions. Within the tradition is a set of riddles which when they are deciphered by a member, will then discover the true name of the goddess. The 1734 tradition uses a different arrangement of the placement of the elements and his rituals than most Wiccan tradition. It practices Drawing down the Moon, rituals, etc.

A•Alexandrian Wicca ~ Founded in England during the 1960's, Alex Sanders referred to himself as the "King" of his Witches. It is a formal, structed, neo-Gardnerian tradition.

*As most everyone by now is aware, the Alexandrian Tradition is very close to Gardnerian with a few minor changes. (One of the most obvious ones being that the Alexandrians use the athame as a symbol for the element of fire and the wand as a symbol for air. Most of the rituals are very formal and heavily indebted to ceremonial magick. It is also a polarized tradition and the sexuality of that female/male polarity is emphasized. The ritual cycle deals mostly with the division of the year between the Holly King and the Oak King and several ritual dramas deal with the dying/resurrected God theme. As with Gardnerians, the High Priestess is supposedly the highest authority. However, it is odd that the primary spokespersons for both traditions have been men. Although similar to Gardnerian Wicca, Alexandrian Wicca tends to be more eclectic, and liberal. Some of Gardnerisms strict rules, such as the requirement of ritual nudity, have been made optional by Alexandrian Wicca.

•Algard Wicca ~ a tradition, or denomination, in the Neo-Pagan religion of Wicca. It was founded in the United States in 1972 by Mary Nesnick, a High Priestess in both Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, in an attempt to fuse the two traditions.[1] Because of this fusion, it is categorised under the heading of British Traditional Wicca, with its initiates being able to trace their lineage back to Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern day Wicca.

•Asatru ~ Ásatrú - "belief in the Gods" in Old Norse, the language of ancient Scandinavia in which so much of our source material was written. Ásatrú is the name by which the Norsemen called their religion. Long before Christianity came to northern Europe, the people there had their own religions. One of these was Ásatrú. It was practiced in the lands that are today Scandinavia, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and other countries as well. Ásatrú is the original or native religious belief for the peoples who lived in these regions.

B•Blue Star Wicca

•British Traditional Wicca ~ A formal, structured, neo-Gardner that is a mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. Most famous organization at this time is the International Red Garters. British Traditionals move mostly from within Janet & Stewart Farrar's studies. They are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree process. Their covens are also co-ed.

C•Celtic Wicca ~ The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon mixed with a little ritual Gardenarian, and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They had a vast knowledge of and respect for the healing and magickal qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.

•Church of All Worlds ~ Founded in 1962, and legally incorporated in 1968, CAW has a good claim on being the oldest legally incorporated Neo-Pagan organization in American. Taking much of its early inspiration from Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, CAW now sees its mission as evolving "a network of information, mythology, and experience to awaken the divine within and to provide a context and stimulus for reawakening Gaia," and to create a tribal community that will be dedicated to the responsible stewardship of the Earth and evolution of consciousness. The Church of All Worlds is dedicated to "healing the separation between mind and body, men and women, civilazation and Nature, Heaven and Earth." It presents public rituals, festivals, and other events, and there are more than fifty local CAW chapters or "nests". It also publishes Green Egg, runs a teaching branch, Lifeways, and ecology branch, Forever Forests, and a research branch, The Ecosophical Research Association, which investigates myth and legend and how they relate to today's world.

•Church of Wicca ~ The Church of Wicca was founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost. They offer correspondence courses in their brand of Wicca, which is sometimes called Celtic Wicca. The Church of Wicca has just recently begun including a Goddess in their deity structure, and has been very patrofocal as Wiccan traditions go. The Church of Wicca terms itself "Baptist Wicca". This is one of the many Welsh-based traditions. It was originally founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost in the early 1970's. As "The Church and School of Wicca" the material is presented to students by correspondence, though the course is virtually the same as the material presented in their book The Witches Bible. Originally (in the book) there was no mention of the Goddess at all and there were various sexual aspects which dismayed many who were otherwise drawn to the tradition. The latter situation has recently been modified and there is now mention of the Goddess. It is a widely spread tradition, found throughout this country and abroad.

D•Dianic Wicca ~ *The Dianic Craft includes two distinct branches*
  1. One branch, founded in Texas by Morgan McFarland and Mark Roberts, gives primacy to the Goddess in its theology, but honors the Horned God as Her Beloved Consort. Covens are mixed, including both women and men. This branch is sometimes called 'Old Dianic', and there are still covens of this tradition, especially in Texas. Other covens, similar in teleology but not directly descended from the McFarland/Roberts line, are sprinkled around the country.
  2. The other branch, sometimes called Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, focus exclusively on the Goddess and consists of women-only covens and groups. These tend to be loosely structured and non-hierarchical, using consensus- decision- making and simple, creative, experimental ritual. They are politically feminist groups, usually very supportive, personal and emotionally intimate. There is a strong lesbian presence in the movement, though most covens are open to women of all orientations

•Discordianism ~ The Discordian or Erisian movement is described as a 'Non- Prophet Irreligious Disorganization and has claimed 'The Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated put-on. " It all started with the *'Principia Discordia, or How I Found the Goddess and What I Did to Her When I Found Her'*, a collection of articles and ideas compiled by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Young-er). The central theme is 'Chaos is every bit as important as Order' as illustrated in the story of The curse of Greyface. Humor is central to Discordianism, but Discordianism should not be dismissed as a joke. Profound experiences frequently accompany the practice or Erisinaism. It is a perceptual game, one which demonstrates that the absurd is just as valid as the mundane and chaos is just as valid as order. It frees the practitioner from the order games (that most have forgotten are games) to play games with order or games with chaos, or both. The effects of Discordianism upon an individual can be far reaching and amazingly liberating.

E•Eclectic Wicca ~ Eclectic Wicca is the practice of adopting whatever works for an individual from any of the Wiccan traditions. The word "eclectic" means to select from a variety of sources. A person who holds to Eclectic Wicca can adopt rituals and ideas out of Dianic, or Gardnerian, or Druidic, Alexandrian, forms, combine them, and then use them to accomplish whatever is desired. Furthermore, this means that they can adopt any deity can any religious system whether it be Jesus, Zeus, Athena, Horus, Quetzalcoatl, Stirculius, Hermes, Brahman, Krishna, The Lord and/or Lady, Elementals, Ishtar, Thor, Apollo, etc. Eclectic Wiccans affirm personal responsibility, communion with nature, and are generally not into structured Wiccan traditions. They want to know what works and how they can use it for their benefit.

F•Faery Wicca ~ This is an Irish tradition that centers on green Witchcraft and faery magick. It is an ecstatic, rather than fertility tradition, emphasizing on polytheism, practical magic, self-development and theurgy. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. Starhawk is an initiate.

•FamTrad ~ These are the practices and traditions, usually secret, of families who have been Witches for generations.

G•Gardnerian Wicca ~ Gardnerism is both a tradition and a family, and lineage is a family tree. The High Priestess rules the coven, and the principles of love and trust preside. We follow our handed down book more carefully than many others, but we are free to add and improvise, as long as we preserve the original. We work skyclad, practice binding and scourging, are hierarchal and secretive, therefore we are controversial. We're also controversial because we were first - the first craft tradition in the U. S. and descended from the man largely responsible for starting the craft revival.

•Georgian Wicca ~ a tradition, or denomination, in the neopagan religion of Wicca. It is often seen as a branch-off from British Traditional Wicca as it cannot trace its initiatory line to one of the old English covens, although in its organisation it is very similar to the BTW groups such as Gardnerian Wicca.The name "Georgian" refers to its founder, George Patterson, who founded the tradition in 1970 in the United States.

•Green Witchcraft ~ The central Green element of all Craft expression is the Goddess as undying, threefold, and associated with the earth, the moon, and the living (sacred) waters, and the God as undying, threefold, and associated with the earth, the sun, and the sky. As God of grain and solar phases, he is also the willing sacrifice who "dies"and is "reborn" in the Goddess in the yearly cycle of the seasons. God the Gatherer, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is that concept of the Trinity dating back some 30,000 years to Shiva as the Threefold God. He is both the seed and the eternal energy of life. 'Green' is a somewhat generic term for the elements that can be found in herbal, natural, traditional, or family traditional Witchcraft, and it has great flexibility and variety. The Green elements can be adapted to those Ceremonial aspects you find appealing, and it forms the foundationlevel of the Odinist tradition (which is very restrictive on what elements are acceptable - Kabbalah and Tarot not being used, as an example.) The key to the Green Facet of Withccraft is to be attuned to nature and the natural forces surrounding you.

H•Hedgewitch ~ A Hedgewitch is a solitary witch, not necessarily Wiccan. Generally unconcerned with overly formal magical workings, preferring more simple, folk magic. Often an herb worker, working for healing of self and others.

N•New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn ~ The New Reformed Orthodox Order Of The Golden Dawn is a Wiccan tradition that began 1967 with a group of friends who were students at San Francisco State College. They were given an assignment to created and perform a ritual, and they decided to perform a Witches' Sabbat using the printed sources available at the time, primarily Robert Graves, Margaret Murray, and Gerald Gardner. After doing the ritual several times and feeling the effects of it, they decided to create NROOGD. The name is a play on the attitudes they had toward what they were doing and upon their spiritual antecedents. The tradition worships a triple-aspect Goddess and various forms of the God derived from ancient Greek and British mythology. Covens are autonomous, but share a common liturgy and recognize one another's initiates. There is no central authority nor spokesperson for the tradition.

P•Pictish ~ Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature: animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary form of the Craft and mainly magickal in nature with little religion.

•Pow-Wow ~ Indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania. This is a system, not a religion, based on 400 year old Elite German magick. Pow-Wow has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Although Pow-Wow finds its roots in German Witchcraft, few practicing Pow-Wows today in Pennsylvania follow the Craft or even know the nature of its true birth.

S•Seax-Wica ~ This tradition was founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. It has a Saxon basis but is, in fact, a new denomination of the Craft. It does not pretend to be either a continuation or a re-creation of the original Saxon religion. Main features of the tradition are the fact that it has open rituals (all of them are published and available), it has a democratic organization that precludes ego trips and power plays by coven leaders, there can be Coven or Solitary practice and there is the reality of Self-initiation in lieu of Coven Initiation, if desired. Seax-Wicca is found throughout the United States and in many countries around the world. For more information see "The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft" by Raymond Buckland.
•Solitaries ~ At this point, you may be asking, If Paganism is so empowering, then where are all the healthy folks?" Well, frankly, many of them are in hiding, and not just from the religious bigots. In some cases, they are actively avoiding other Pagans. Often as not, they practice their spiritual path in a solitary fashion.

There have always been Solitaries among us, and there always will be. It's important to note that this is an authentic and viable path, especially for those of us who are mystics. I say this because all mystical religious or spiritual paths require a high level of individual maturity. Mystics connect directly with the sacred in order to experience the divine, both within and without. They cannot do this work if emotional garbage is blocking their spiritual path. They cannot do this work if they lack honor. To quote Rowan Fairgrove's insightful saying, "If your word is no good in this world, then it is no good between the worlds. " The Solitary Path, to put it mildly, is not a practice for people in denial.

Solitary Pagans tend to be quiet, individualistic types. They are often introverted, strong-minded, and very self-sufficient. These people are usually not "joiners", so it's not possible to count them accurately, but lately, their numbers appear to be growing.

More and more often the Solitary Way is chosen by those who have no desire to mix with the dysfunctional behavior they find in so many Pagan groups. If they choose to perform a ritual with others, it is usually for a special occasion and done with a very small, carefully selected group of people. A Pagan gal named Raven wrote this to me just recently:

I have semi-retired from working with other Pagans, outside of a few individuals and my writing. I found the drama, posturing, gossip, and hate mongering that goes on in public groups tiring, and never ending. I also saw a trend: When there were individuals in the community who had some kind of life outside of the tiny local Pagan fish pond (careers, kids, homes, bill-paying and contributing to other causes) this tended to bring out jealousy.

Whether such Solitaries will ever come out to play with us again is anyone's guess. But if they do come, they will surely do it on their own terms. If we wish to attract more healthy Pagans to our events (Solitary or otherwise), we'd better have something meaningful to offer them.

This is not to say that all the healthy Pagans are in hiding or that all Solitaries are healthy. In fact, there are good number of healthy Pagan circles, functional organizations, and great community groups out there. The trick is to find them.

•Strega ~ Craft of the Italian Witches. It's an ancient system, steeped with history that dates back to the 14th century. We are the descendants of an ancient people who used moonlore, nature, symbolisms, and Spirits to work their magick. Stregheria resembles Wicca in that both systems are Goddess based. Both Stregheria and many Wiccan traditions accept the duality of both a female and male God. In Stregheria the Goddess is known as Tana and the God a s Tanus. Diane and Dianus represent the Moon goddess and god respectively. Many of the Goddesses and Gods are known by different names in different traditions. Stregheria and Wicca celebrate many of the same rites or Festivals even though the names are not the same and sometimes they occur on a slightly diffferent date.

V •Voodoo ~ Modern Voodoo is a syncretic religion, formed from elements moulded together by time and necessity. Its beginnings lie in West Africa, where the supernatural is viewed an integral part of daily life. For members of these indigenous societies, their ancestors are linked with the living in an unbroken line connecting everyone to the homeland. The spirits of the dead, residing in tress, waterfalls, and ponds, exercise influence over the living. Health, fortune and success are all affected by relationships with ancestors, but they are at least accessible; it is possible to communicate with the spirits and thus have some power over one's destiny. Above the individual ancestors are 'super-spirits' or loas, which are grouped into pantheons or vodu. There is a creator and overall deity, Gran Met, but such a god is too remote and inaccessible for humans to reach and it is to the loas that mortals must turn. Communication with the loas helps with difficulties and protects against the evil intent of others. Each follower identifies with a vodu and, with the help of its priests and priestesses, selects a suitable loa through which to influence the events of his or her own life. During ceremonies of drumming and dancing they help individuals achieve an ecstatic trance state in which they are taken over by the loas. The priests and priestesses remain detached from the trance and possession states sought by their charges, and interpret the action and wishes of the spirits.

Spirit possession is the ultimate communication between the living and the dead, and through this union the power of the spirits is directed toward the solving of human problems. But care is needed, because the loas themselves have a malevolent side, some more than others. The Guides, the gods of darkness and death and debauchery, also govern the preservation and renewal of life and growth of children. Their power is needed by humans, but they must be carefully approached if their dangerous side is to be controlled.

This was the belief system which West Africans took with them when they were transported to America and the Caribbean as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries. They needed a supportive religion in their new life. Those who survived the nightmare voyage on overcrowded slave ships found themselves subjected to every kind of deprivation and hardship. Powerless in almost every areas of their lives, they were denied the mot basic human rights. their powerful, almost ecstatic religion was harshly suppressed by slave owners, who saw it as a threat to their control. Where West Africans were mixed with slaves from other societies their religion generally failed to survive, although pockets of voodoo practice survived around New Orleans and as far north as Detroit and Chicago.

Followers of voodoo believe that each person has two parts to their non-physical self. The first, the gros bon ange, is the spirit or essence with the breath and the shadow. The second the ti bon ange, is the spirit or essence of the person, the part that makes the personality. It is sometimes called the zombie, and this is the part which is most at risk from sorcerers. It lingers for about seven days after death, when it is at its most vulnerable. The popular notion of zombies derives from the belief that sorcerers who had captured a dead person's 'ti bon ange during the vulnerable week after death could bring the body back to life and use it as slave labour. But are they really resurrecting the dead? Voodoo sorcerers are well versed in herbalism and familiar with poisons. They can administer drugs which simulate death and enable the victim to be buried, then resurrected. Constantly drugged and intimidated, the victim himself can believe in his fate. Many modern voodoo adherents maintain that zombies are merely part of the myth.

Voodoo magick is reputed to be strong enough to kill. One of the most sensationalised features of the religion is the death curse. cases are on record of people whose death has occurred within days of discovering that have been cursed. With no apparent physical cause of death, these cases contradict scientific theories of illness in a puzzling way. But researchers have discovered that belief in the effectiveness of any kind of magick greatly enhances its effect. The power of suggestion can be so great that those brought up surrounded by effective use of magick will not question its power.

Followers everywhere accept that in all spirits there is good and bad, and that their power can be used in either way. Safeguards exist against misuses of voodoo power; such abuse is universally condemned, and it is considered extremely dangerous to manipulate the spirits in order to cause harm. Those to tempted to use the power of the invisible against others need to cast their magick carefully; the magick can be countered, and then rebounds upon its sender with more concentrated effect than ever (similar to three fold law of return).

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