Friday, 30 April 2010

Celtic Witchcraft

Celtic Witchcraft is a belief, and a way of life that has originated before Christian traditions, originating in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, and France. While much of the information of how our Celtic anscestors lived, worshiped, and believed has been destroyed (due to the efforts of the church to whipe out our existance from history), we have reconstructed the missing portions from the information left for us.
A Witch has a deep appretiation and feels awe watching the sunrise or sunset, the water glisten under the glowing moon, a meadow enchanted by first ligh of day. Witchcraft is as beautiful as the morning dew on the petals of a beautiful flower, the gentle caress of a warm summer breeze upon your skin, or the warmth of the summer sun on your face. Witchcraft gives you the feeling of the fall of colorful autumn leaves, and the softness of winter snow. It is both light and shadow, and all inbetween. It is the song of the creatures of the wild. It is the presence of Mother Earth and being humbled in Her reverence. When we are in the temple of the Lord and Lady, we are not prone to humanities arrogance of technology as they touch our souls. To be a Witch is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things. May you walk this path with honor, light and integrity.
Recently, archaeologists have discovered that the origins of our belief system can be traced even further back to the Paleolithic peoples who worshiped a Hunter God and Fertility Goddess, as well to an ancient civilization which some have called Atlantis. These discoveries have been found in cave paintings, dating back to around 30,000 years old. One of the paintings depicted a man with a stag head, and a pregnant woman standing in a circle with 11 other people. It can easily be concluded that Witchcraft is the oldest religion in the world. These archetypes are clearly recognized by Witches as our view of the Goddess and God aspect of the supreme creative force that predates Christianity by roughly 28,000 years, making Christianity a mere toddler in the spectrum of time as we know it.
In ancient times, Witchcraft was known as "The Craft of the Wise". This is because followers were healers and were in tune with the forces of nature, had a knowledge of Herbs and medicines. They also gave council and were valuable members of the community as Shamanic healers. They were so respected, that they could walk through a battlefield and fighting would stop. They understood that mankind is not superior to nature amd its creatures, but instead, we are one of the many fractions both seen and unseen, that combine to make the whole of the Earth. The Craft of the Wise knew that what we take or use, we must return in kind to maintain balance and equilibrium. Obviously, with all of the applied technology of today, modern man has forgotten this. As a result, we currently face ecological disaster and eventual extinction because of our hunger for power and a few pieces of gold.
In these recent several hundred years, the Witch's image has been mistakenly viewed as evil, heathenism, and unrightious. In my humble opinion, I may have a few answers for the origin of this misconseption:
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the Church created myths to convert the followers of the old nature based religions to the churches way of thinking. By portraying the Witch to be a diabolical character and turning the old deities into devils, demons, and sometimes saints (such as St Brighid), the missionaries were easily able to attach fear to these beliefs which aided in the conversion.
Next, as medical science began to grow, the men who engaged in these initial studies had a very poor understanding of the female physiology, especially the womans monthly cycle. Each and every "unknown" played very well with the churches agenda in leading credence to the Witch Hunters claims and authority. The medical professions also stood to benifit greatly from this, because it took the traditional power of the women healers away, giving it to the male physicians, transferring the respect and power to them.
Unfortunately, these misconseptions, fears, and superstitions have lived through the ages to remain to this day. This is why many who follow the Craft have adopted the name Wicca (or even avoided a name at all) to escape the persecution, harrassment, and misinformation that has been attached to the name Witchcraft and Witch. Not to mention the bad publicity the press and Hollywood has planted on us to simply generate profit.
Witchraft fosters free thought and will of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature, thereby acknowledging the divinity in all living things.
Most importantly, it teaches RESPONSIBILITY. We accept responsibility for our actions and deeds as a clear result of the choices we make. We do not blame an exterior deity or being (such as the Devil) for our shortcomings, weakness, or mistakes. If we mess up in some way that brings harm to another, it is because of ourselves and we have no one else to blame and we must face the consequences resulting from those actions. There are NO loopholes around this.
We acknowledge the cycles of nature, and the universe to celebrate our spirituality and worship the Divine. This belief allows the Witch to work with (not in supplication) to deities with the intent of living in harmony and achieving balance with all things.
Spells involve healing, love, harmony, wisdom and creativity. The potions that we stir may be to cure a headache, a cold, or a flea bath for our pets. Our goal is to gain knowledge of and use the natural remedies on this earth by the divine for our benifit - instead of using synthetic drugs (unless absolutely necessary).
The belief is that the spirit of the One, God and Goddess exists in all things: In the trees, rain, flowers, sea, in each other and all of natures creatures. This means that we must treat "all things" of Earth as the divine. Our virtue is to honor and respect all life in all its many manifestations, both seen and unseen.
Our teachers are the trees, rivers, lakes, meadows, mountains and animals as well as others who have lived before us.We have a reverance and respect for the enviroment, and all life upon Earth. We celebrate the moon, sun, and seasonal cycles.
We revere the spirits of the elements (such as Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), because they combine to create all life (Spirit). From these four elements, we obtain insight to the rythms of nature and understand and life on Earth. This is why we have the pentagram: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit.
Because of the persecution Witches have faced over the centuries, we stand for religions freedom! We do not look at our path as the only way to achieve spirituality. We are one path among many to the same end. We do not claim to be a missionary religion out to convert members to think as we do. However, we will share our knowledge and perspective with those who seek it. Anyone who is meant for this way of living will find it through their own search, because the Goddess speaks to each of us in her own time and way. Witches prictice religious tolerance toward all other religions as long as they do not persecute or harm to others. That is our main Creed: Harm None.
We are NOT a cult. We do not claim to be spokespersons for our deities or convince others to follow us as their leaders.
One of the largest myth held over us is that we worship Satan or consort with Demons. Satan is a Christian creation. We do not need a paranoid creation of supreme evil and eternal damnation to scare us into doing the right thing and helping others. We choose to do whats kind and loving and love our neighbors and family because it IS the right thing, and it feels good to do it. Its just a maturity thing.
Myth number two: We do NOT sacrifice humans or animals. That would violate the basic rule, "Harm None". Anyone who does this and claims to be a witch is lying. In ancient Roman texts, however, there are documents stating that the Celtic Druids would sacrifice cattle and criminals. However, many scholors are split on believing this, since the Romans were also the ones converting the Celts.
We have no need (or urge) to steal or control the life force of another to achieve mystical or supernatural powers. We draw energy from the univers and from within.
We do not use nature to create Hex's or to cast spells on others, unless its in self defense. Even then, we vow to harm none in the act. Witches have a strict belief in the Law of Three. It states that whatever we send out, will come back to us three fold, whether it be good or bad. A true Witch would think twice, if not three times, about harming or manipulating another, because it would only come back harder at us.
The heart of Celtic Witchcraft cannot be summed up in just a short story. To gain a full understanding of the Craft, you must go out and seek the truth for yourself. Through the wisdom and words passed down through time, you will find that you are able to understand the basis of our beliefs and anscestry and how they may apply to you. Your inner voice will also quickly let you know if the intent of what you learn is superficial, or to benefit the you as a whole. Learn with your heart, for it is when you see the world and life on it with your heart and spirit that you truly gain understanding.