Paganism, Wicca, Witchcraft
There is often confusion in the use of these three words, so I am trying today to help you understand them more clearly.
The term paganism comes from the word pagan itself derived from the Latin paganus which could be translated as rustic, crude, from the countryside, the village. It is a millenary concept that today designates all the practices called magical, polytheistic, shamanic. They are often very old forms of religion (to be understood here in the sense of linking, reliance) not submitting to any dogma and having no connection with one of the monotheistic religions that appeared much later: Christianity, Judaism, Islam.
Wicca is a religion based on the neo-paganism movement, largely democratized by Gerald Gardner in the 1940s. Neo-paganism is itself a precursor of the New Age movement which will appear in the late 1960s.
Wicca recognizes the ability of each person to experience the divine by himself, without having to go through an intermediary such as the priest, rabbi or imam. But Wicca being a religion, it has a dogma or fundamental rules whose main one is: "If you do not harm anyone, do what you want". It is important to understand that Wicca wants to be exclusively beneficial and that it reminds the followers who would have the desire to deviate from this first rule, that they will be punished by the law of triple return.
A Wiccan ceremony often includes songs, dances, stories, rituals, offerings, prayers, meditations, food and drink sharing. Note however that the Wiccans do not necessarily practice the noble art of Magic.
Witchcraft encompasses all forms of magic and occult practices. Thus, while Wicca wants to be exclusively positive and even if witchcraft is often used for healing purposes, it must be remembered that it can also harm and destroy. Practicing without limits and systematically using magic art, witchcraft is not a religion because it obeys no dogma. The only rules followed in witchcraft are those dictated by natural laws. Indeed, by using the energies of nature with good intelligence, sorcerers and witches are able to influence these energies and act remotely to alter reality.
In conclusion, a sorcerer is a pagan, but not all pagans are sorcerers. A Wiccan is only a pagan if he also practices witchcraft, but all the pagans are not Wiccans.
The Autumn Equinox
The Autumn Equinox is the date that marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Called Mabon in the Wiccan tradition or Alban Elfed in the Celtic/Druidic tradition, its name means Water Light. The Autumn Equinox is the signature of a period of fulfilment during which the Sun begins to fade, it is the end of the reign of Light. The wise man collects the crops that will allow him to cross the coming winter.
The 2021 Autumn Equinox follows by just a few hours the Full Moon of the month, which multiplies the energy of the first as well as the energy of the second. (I invite you to also read the article on the Full Moon of 21st September.) As the Aquarius Era began astrologically at the Winter Solstice 2020, the whole of Humanity has entered - with more or less awareness depending on the personal inner work of each - in the new paradigm, which will require long years of transition in order to set up and - perhaps - achieve a complete overhaul of society and its way of functioning.
This 2021 Autumn Equinox therefore proposes us to definitively leave the collective hypnosis charged and nourished by fears and constraints in order to free our freedom by agreeing to leave the sacrificial pattern transmitted by the model of Christ who died to save Humanity. The Aquarius Era reveals to us the mystery hitherto hidden: Humanity - composed of billions of individuals - will be saved if each individual saves himself by becoming autonomous and fully assuming responsibility for each of his acts.
Those who are already on a spiritual path have intimately understood that the Heart is at the centre of everything and that the Heart is the expression of Love. But while the Pisces Era had transmitted to us that Love is only possible by sacrificing oneself, by forgetting oneself, the Aquarius Era teaches us that Love is only true if it is free, without hindrances, without blackmail, without pressure, without expectations.
I wish you an aware and happy 2021 Autumn Equinox.
Power and Efficiency of a Ritual
If emotions are an integral part of the experience of incarnation and it is therefore futile to try to ignore them, if emotions colour life and make us vibrate, there are other energies, more subtle, that make us vibrate even more.
Emotions are animated by intense energies which no conscious mind, however powerful it is, is capable of containing. In the short, medium or long term and depending on the experience of each, any emotional repression will inevitably cause you to lose the North and you will unconsciously directed the energy either internally and resulting in the manifestation of an illness (mental or physical) or outwardly and that could harm your relationship to the world.
It is therefore healthy to express one’s emotions in order to prevent them from accumulating and thickening the mental-emotional barrier, because it is the thickening of this barrier which is at the origin of the fanciful interpretations that most of us have of Reality.
An emotion cannot be controlled. An emotion cannot be mastered. An emotion is guided. This is the first and indispensable step if you want to grow the power and efficiency of your rituals.
If you are walking in consciousness on a spiritual path and that path makes you interested in esoteric practices, perhaps you will have surfed on the NET and you found a thousand and one tips on the best shamanic or witch technique you will have to acquire to become a master. I have read and read again that this so-called best technique is to load your ritual with all the emotion that you hold within you.
Know then that this technique only serves to free you from your emotional overflow. This is in itself a good thing, but this is not enough to grow the power and efficiency of your rituals. It is also for this reason that you need to regularly repeat your ritual. Repetition is a way of reprogramming yourself and reprogramming is a fundamental mistake that makes you believe that you need to become someone that you are not. Therefore, any repetition of the ritual will cause you to stagnate in the first step for a duration of which no one can predict the length and this stagnation will generate in you ever more emotions that, rather than elevating you, will keep you in the belief that you are incapable of creating your reality and accessing the Happiness to which you are rightfully entitled.
Then one day, you feel that the time has come to progress. Progress is in the course of things, it is part of evolution and if you agree to follow the natural movement of life which is to make you grow, if you throw overboard all the old beliefs that you believed in and that are still unconsciously conveyed by the mass, you then grow towards consciousness (in the meaning feeling and not the intellectual sense of the term) that you have the creative power that you have most likely heard about, but never really experienced. Here you are approaching the second step of the process which is to contact the energy beyond the emotion and therefore beyond the conscious mind, in a place where duality no longer divides, but is complemented with a single goal: to serve the power and efficiency of the ritual.
Contact this energy beyond emotion has nothing to do with what is commonly called meditation, the purpose of which is to annihilate the ego. Thus even if it is not the one who directs, your ego has a role to play in esoteric practice and in any other spiritual process. Contact this energy beyond emotion is to cross the mental-emotional barrier while using the energy it generates to focus on the intention of your ritual. Here, quantity is not synonymous with quality and therefore, the thinner the mental-emotional barrier is, the more powerful and sharp it is like the tip of an arrow would be. In this case, you understand that it is totally useless to repeat your ritual, a single sharp arrow is enough to reach the center of the target.
Lugnasad: 1st August
In Irish Celtic mythology, Tailtiu is the wife of the last king of Fir Bolg whose reign is renowned for his justice and prosperity. Adopted mother of God Lug, Tailtiu died of exhaustion after transforming the forests into arable land. When she dies, Lug organizes ceremonies in her honour at the Lugnasad Feast.
Celebrated on 1st August, Lugnasad – which means Lug Assembly – symbolizes a turning point in Mother Earth’s life cycle. This feast marks on one hand the abundance of the first harvests and on the other hand the decline of the power of the sun. Lugnasad is a joyful celebration and a wake.
For the ancients, the annual harvest reflected the human cycle of life and death. The time of harvest was associated with the spiritual abundance which nourished the soul as much as it foreshadowed the first autumn frosts during which the first seeds of introspection which will be made the following winter will begin to be laid. Lugnasad is therefore a transition feast.
Time of reunion and conviviality, period of truce, symbol of peace, friendship and abundance, this celebration erases all socio-cultural barriers and brings together the peoples who honour the fertility of the earth. We thank her through offerings to share with her what she has so generously given us. Lugnasad is a moment of sharing and giving, because to receive, you must also know how to give. It is therefore also an opportunity to take stock of one’s life and honour one’s debts.
The Summer Solstice
The summer solstice is the longest day and the shortest night of the year . The Earth tilted on its axis presents the maximum of its northern hemisphere to the solar rays. With the Sun at its zenith, this position symbolizes the victory of light, the forces of the day, the Masculine or Yang. Thus, what has been initiated into the spring equinox comes to full maturity.
Our ancestors have a broader understanding of natural phenomena than ours, and this day has been sacred since the dawn of time, all civilizations combined. The Egyptians honored Ra, the Romans glorified Janus - god of initiation to mysteries, the Celts celebrated the Oak King, the Christians celebrated Saint John. The summer solstice and its six-month cycle are called the "path of the ancestors" and relate to individual knowledge. Man regenerates himself psychically by refocusing on himself to reflect on his place in the order of the world.
In pagan traditions, bonfires and rounds celebrated the solar power allowing the emergence of life from matter and the beginning of the generous harvest season. We therefore associate with it the symbols of strength, vitality and abundance. It seems that we are receptive and connected to nature on this day and that we can then contact all of our inner power, the fire illuminating the way and driving out the evil spirits that might lurk there.
Some rites also complete these celebrations by associating the element Water, because if the summer solstice signs the apogee of the Sun, it also announces its coming decline slowly but surely yielding its place to the Feminine or Yin. It is also on this date that the astrological sign of Cancer begins, symbol of Feminine, motherhood, home, introspection, but also intuition, the Moon being also associated with it.
Sabbats and Esbats
Throughout the year, witches and sorcerers engage in celebrations, and some of them are more important than others. These celebrations, reputed to be conducive to the practice of rituals, bear the name of Sabbats, when the cult is dedicated to the Sun, and Esbats, when it is dedicated to the Moon.
There are eight of them. Four are called minors and mark the entry into the four seasons. They are related to astronomical events and the corresponding dates therefore vary slightly to one or two days, from one year to the next: Yule, winter solstice ; Ostara, spring equinox ; Litha, summer solstice and Mabon, autumn equinox.
The four called major Sabbats are not related to astronomical events and it is over time that tradition has linked them to calendar dates: Samhain, 1st November, date considered as the first day of the new year ; Imbolc, 1st February ; Beltane, 1st May and Lugnasad, 1st August.
They are celebrated on the Full Moon nights and are therefore 12 or 13 a year. Here are some of their denominations:
In future articles, I will return in more detail on each Sabbat and Esbat.
Since Immemorial Times