About Wicca

Strength Abides…

…let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

—the Charge of the Goddess

What is Strength?

Charles Atlas, mid-20th cent. bodybuilder

Charles Atlas, mid-20th cent. bodybuilder

Victorian performer

Victorian performer

Strength is a quality—being strong—which may apply to individual humans or animals or objects, groups of humans or animals or objects, or even entire tribes or species or categories of objects.  Among humans, definitions of strength or strong cover a gamut of meanings, from the ability to wield ergs that move tonnes, to the inner qualities that enable humans to endure privation  and withstand hardship, to the stalwart temperaments displayed variously as stubbornness, loyalty, and tenacity. Families or tribes or entire peoples may be called strong, with any of the meanings of the term.

Strength Without

Western red cedar

Western red cedar
(Thuja plicata)

tall coast redwood

coast redwood
(Sequoia sempervirens)

Natural strength exists in the world around us, in the boles of trees, the solidity of stone, the force of floods, the vigor of wildlife, and the extremes of weather. From the Stone Age onwards, humankind has used the strength of stone in structures and tools and weapons. Flint or obsidian blades, cobble and thatch homes, slate pathways, slung stones—we value the strength of stone, just as we use its mountains and crags as landmarks for our travel.

The climax species of conifer that once comprised the backbone of the widespread coastal temperate forests of western North America (cedar and redwood) depict their own “pillars of strength.” Whether coniferous or broadleaf, mature climax forests feature such wondrous pillars, be they the pictured cedars and redwoods of western lands, or the oaks, beeches, maples, and birches of eastern ones. These sturdy columns support huge widespread foliate canopies which, astonishingly, act as solar engines to renew our air, circulate our water, distribute chemical nutrients, and shelter our wildlife.

river in flood

Scots river in flood

Greek mythology, in the Labors of Hercules, tells us how he used his strength to re-route two rivers in flood through the Augean Stables to clean them out in a single day. The “force of floods” required all his Herculean strength to manipulate, while accomplishing what even he could not perform in one day, moving a veritable mountain of manure.

Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar)

Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar)
View from Gibraltar lighthouse across the straits to Jebel Musa, N. Africa

Even today, the Atlantic passage to the Mediterranean Sea which we call the Straits of Gibraltar, are also known as the Pillars of Hercules, just as they were known to Phœnician traders and Greek sailors. Two mountains bracket the gap through which the Atlantic replenishes the waters of the Mediterranean, the rock of Gibraltar at the southern tip of Spain, and Jebel Musa, in Morocco at the northern tip of North Africa. Given that Hercules’ fame arose from his strength and tenacity, the Pillars of Hercules were and remain symbols of both.

Strength in the Occult

Uruz rune

Uruz rune

In the previous blog in this series, the Pillar of Strength is described as the pair to the Pillar of Beauty, with the Pillar of Wisdom between the two. Rather than repeat kabala material, let me turn to another significant strain of esoteric lore, the Norse runes. Runes, like scripts everywhere, were known only to a few at first. The art of writing was generally considered magical, or at least sacred, during its early days within any culture.

In the mythology of the Norse, Odin (often called All-Father), chief of the gods of the Norse pantheon, hung for nine days on Yggdrasil (the mythical World-Tree that connects the Norse three realms: underworld, earth, and overworld) to obtain the knowledge of the runes, or writing, and share them with his followers. These 24 runes of the futhark are both the alphabet of the Norsemen, and were—and are—used extensively for divination and in magical inscriptions. (Why futhark? because the first six runes are the letters: F, U, TH, A, R, and K. A close parallel to our word alphabet, which derives from the Greek names of the first two letters, alpha and beta.)

Aurochs bull from skeletal find

Aurochs bull reproduction from skeletal find

The Uruz rune is often known as the rune of strength: this second rune of the futhark, Uruz in the futhark of Old Norse represents the letter U, and means aurochs, the primitive giant, wild Eurasian cattle.

Aurochs, cattle, human sketch for scale

Sketch comparing bull aurochs & bull cattle
human of ~5’9″ for scale

Aurochs, especially bull aurochs, were fearsome animals, about 150% of the size of a modern beef bull, with shoulder heights of seven to upwards of nine feet. Although ancestor to modern domestic cattle (the last aurochs died in Poland in 1627 CE), aurochs were not tractable, being hunted rather than raised. 

Strength Within

Strength of mind is exercise, not rest. —Alexander Pope

Humans use strength of mind to determine our purposes.  We use our strength of will to hold constant to those purposes.   And we use our strength of body to act on those purposes. The common trait among them all—following Pope’s epigram—is the exercise of our minds to select among options consciously, to hold fast to those decisions and to select course(s) of action that make those choices come to pass. Just as the Goddess advises us to have strength within us, so do our gods advise us to choose our intent: “An it harm none, do as thou wilt.” Opt to do, or not to do, a familiar concept.

Do, or do not. —Yoda, Star Wars

Finally, there’s strength of character. Our gods also advise us to be responsible for what we do, “As thou dost give, so shall ye gain.” What goes around, comes around; equally familiar as Newton’s third law, “for every action there is an opposite reaction.” Strong characters reflect self-knowledge, own errors, redress wounds, enable trust…absolutely foundational needs for any magic worker.

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About Wicca

Beauty Shines

…let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

—the Charge of the Goddess

Here begins a series of blog entries undertaking to examine each of the eight qualities that our Great Mother advises us to cherish in our hearts.

What Is Beauty?

painted portrait of Renaissance woman

Frau Van Eyck

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This oft-repeated phrase was rebooted into popular vocabulary by its reference as most of the title of a surrealistic episode of the Twilight Zone (1960), “Eye of the Beholder,” almost a century after it was first framed in these words in a 1878 tale by an Irish romance novelist (Molly Bawn, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford). The sentiment goes back to Shakespeare and millennia further back into ancient Greece. To explicate the phrase, beauty is a subjective judgement made individually.

Iman

Iman

Our society thinks of beauty, first of all, as a trait of the female of our species. Today, supermodels, from 1960s’ Twiggy to 1990s’ Imam, are held up as “beauties.” Historically, women in power are regarded as role models for fashion—Queen Elizabeth I (“Good Queen Bess”), nicknamed Gloriana, overturned female styles from the dark hues and blocky silhouettes of Queen Mary Tudor, her predecessor, to the whites and pale tints, lace trims & ruffs, and floral decoration throughout her reign, bringing a brightness into fashion.

In today’s world, beauty is made cheap. From glamour and fashion magazines of the past century to today’s reality television shows, ordinary humans are “discovered” and made famous…at least for their allotted 15 minutes of fame. In these fora, human physical attractiveness is valued higher than almost any other human quality, mental or physical—exposing such “beauty” as very nearly valueless. Empty beauty becomes a goal in itself, or a tool to enable instant wealth or fame or both. And advertisers tout everything from the lowest-cost cosmetics to the highest-cost cosmetic surgeries in these same media.

The word “beauty” itself is introduced into English in the 13th century from Old French, by way of the Norman Conquest, deriving ultimately from Latin. It is defined in its earliest English meaning as

the quality (or aggregate of qualities) in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind of spirit.”
Merriam-Webster New Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition

Yes, it’s a long-winded definition, necessarily so. Abstract concepts are always difficult to define by comparison with anything concrete, where one can see or touch or point at it and say, “see? that’s XXXXXXX.”

Photo, Princess Kate in wedding gown

Princess Kate in wedding gown

photo, bust of Nefertit

Bust of Nefertiti

Many dictionaries resort to defining such words with a synonym for the word, making it easier on the compilers but much harder on the readers who may not know the meaning of the synonyms any more than they knew the word they looked up. An example of such definitions might lead to beauty: handsomeness: attractiveness: charm: charisma; glamor; beauty—a circular puzzle with no definition.

 

Royal beauties of past & present:
Princess Kate, wife of the UK royal heir, Prince William, and,
Nefertiti, the only female pharaoh of ancient Egypt

So, looking at the definition as simply as possible, beauty is the aspect(s) of anyone or anything which pleases the senses or the spirit. Beauty lifts human hearts or souls; it attracts our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, or hands by giving pleasure. The word beauty supplanted the pre-Conquest word wlite (Old English/ Anglo-Saxon)defined as beauty or splendor. 

drawing, heraldic sun in splendor

“sun in splendor”

Me, I find splendor a meaningful alternative to the much overused, not to say abused, modern usage of the word beauty. Beauty attracts the senses or the spirits, and a brilliance or shining or vividness is among the most common qualities that attract. And, lo, the very word splendor derives from the Latin to shine. In heraldry, in fact, a sun in splendor is depicted with eight or sixteen rays surrounding a central disk having facial features, thus:

Beauty Without


Splendor, shining, brilliance—all of these qualities are cherished in the world around us. Sunsets and sunrises, rainbows and moonshine, mountainous vistas reflected upon still and moving water, brilliant swathes of spring wildflowers—all of these are among what we call beautiful.

As interest in natural history arose in the 18th century, the term “picturesque” came into use, referring to natural vistas worthy of being painted. Young ladies of rank were universally educated in drawing and watercolors to record images and scenes for themselves and others, similar to the way the Kodak Brownie camera enabled early 20th century families to collect snapshots of people and places, just as smartphones and digital cameras enable today’s youth to populate such web sites as Shutterfly, Flickr, and Pinterest with places and people and events.

Windsor Castle from the River

“Windor Castle from the River”—Turner

Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Bridal Veil Falls, Multnomah Falls, Oregon

The 18th century UK landscape at left contrasts with the US photograph at right, at the same time as they are both picturesque. Both have qualities of light that attract the eye, that glow or shimmer or shine. It is not only landscapes that draw our eyes in this way.

Moonbow over island of Hawaii

Moonbow over island of Hawaii

Symmetry and brilliance provide instances of uplifted emotion and indrawn breath as we indulge our gaze thereon

Beauty in the Occult

https://i2.wp.com/www.digital-brilliance.com/themes/Portae%20Lucis.jpg

16th century depiction, Jewish Tree of Life

20th cent. postcard

“Pillar of Beauty”              Watkins Glen State Park, NY

The foundation taught in the kabbalah (Jewish medieval mystery tradition) or cabala (Christian renaissance mystery tradition) or qabala (Hermetic magical tradition) concerns the Tree of Life, depicted as ten spheres interconnected by 22 pathways, key among which are the three vertical pathways called (reading from left to right):

  • the Pillar of Beauty
  • the Pillar of Wisdom
  • the Pillar of Strength

Beauty, here is set in contrast to Strength, with the “middle pillar” being Wisdom.

Whichever spelling of kabbalah one chooses to use, most Western Mystery Traditions have, for more than twelve hundred years, employed concepts from the mystical Tree of Life and its components:

  • Freemasonry terms these upright pillars—Beauty, Wisdom, Strength—as “the pillars on which the lodge stands,” so intrinsic a foundation principle of Masonry that these pillars are referenced in esoteric Western traditions of every sort. In the 18th century North American British colonies, a great many of what today are called America’s “founding fathers” were Freemasons; one can only presume that such a Mason named the physical feature in New York state called the “Pillar of Beauty” (illustration, vintage postcard, right).
  • Tarot’s major arcana or greater trump cards comprise a total of twenty-two card (numbered zero through twenty-one), mirroring the 22 pathways among Tree of Life. Given that these trionfi cards, as they are known in the earliest surviving tarot decks (such as the Visconti-Sforza), it is not known with any certainty whether the greater trumps number 22 for that reason, or for some other. The kabalic references depicted in more modern tarot decks, such as the Rider-Waite or Universal Rider decks, derive from esoteric teachings that associate the greater trumps with the kabala over the prior century and more.

    The High Priestess Tarot Card - Rider Waite Tarot Deck

    major arcana II,
    High Priestess,
    Rider-Waite deck, 1900 CE

  • The Tarot’s High Priestess card (number II of the greater trumps) traditionally depicts the High Priestess seated between the Pillar of Beauty and the Pillar of Strength—implicitly displaying the High Priestess herself as the Pillar of Wisdom.
    (The B & J shown on the pillars in the card illustrated here refer to the Hebrew initials for each pillar, transcribed into Latinate letters.)
close-up of the eye & pyramid on US dollar

all-seeing eye on US $1 bill, obverse

Masonic symbols appear throughout our U.S. symbology; even today the “all-seeing eye” or the Eye of Providence (a common Masonic symbol) appears above an unfinished pyramid on the obverse of the one-dollar banknote printed by the U.S. Mint.

Beauty Within

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
as I have seen in one autumnal face.” —John Donne

This classic quote speaks to the quality of beauty that transcends surfaces and the modern insistence on youthful appearance. Donne uses the word grace to evoke in his reader’s minds the qualities that embody the inner beauty of wisdom, courtesy, kindness, goodness, nobility, and so on.

True beauty is found in the spirit, and shines for all to see. When the Goddess tells us to have beauty within us, She evokes this greater beauty which benefits each of Her hidden children for themselves—and also for everyone else around them. The Wiccæ know (as do all wise magic-users) that knowledge begins within; Pythagoras’ mandate Know Thyself is the first instruction to any magician. Thus, we all are charged to seek out one’s own “beauty within” and to cherish its growth in each of us.

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About Wicca

Across the Genders

It’s been a while since I dug into the roots of a word. I think I’m overdue.

Gender

First, what does it mean?
As of 1300, the English language noun meant kind or sort or class. No implicit or explicit reference to biological or physiological nature of the thing referenced. Its root word, unsurprisingly, is the Old French gendre or genre (a hint* for those paying attention) which meant kind or species or character. And that Old French word in turn comes from the Latin stem genus meaning race or stock or family or kind or rank or order or species.

*Genre, straight from the Modern French, is now used as an entirely different word in English…but it still means kind or sort or class.

Wowzer. Look at that! Gender is a means of classifying things into groupings. Later, it added the specific grouping of “is it male or female”—much later (I call 200 years later, compared to life spans of 30-70 years…).

Before we ever get to bringing individuals in to our circles, bringing them between the worlds, we tend to cover the term “polarity” in discussing the theoretical underpinnings of what it is that we—those weird-ass Wicca—do. But, y’know, I don’t believe that theoretical underpinnings are what the Wicca had in mind when they wanted to prevent Hitler from invading and defeating Britain. Or five generations (see there, there’s that genera—plural of genus—again) before that, when witches wanted to keep the Little Corsican on the continental side of the channel, and sent an entire summer of uncoöperative winds for the purpose. Or another six generations before that, when the Armada of Spain was already in English waters when it succumbed to the Atlantic gales called up to protect the folk who preferred “Good Queen Bess” over her predecessor “Bloody Mary” (no swearing involved).

In other simple words, witches—the Wicca—do what is needed because it works. We teach and pass and spread our tradition across gender. And for the most part, that means woman to man to woman to man to woman to…

And…

Who are we to say that gender always and forever and only means biological sex? When it did not mean that, in our own language, in the first place. (Remember? two hundred years from sorting into groups, before it also mean sorted by “gender”?)

I don’t see a need to argue about it. I certainly don’t see a need to snipe at equally qualified and trained and experienced witches using apple-pie analogies, as if there were only ever one KIND (sort? class?? gender???) of apple pie. All too often, we elders can show ourselves human and imperfect in oh-so-many ways. Not least of which is telling each other that we have the sole truth when every one of us knows that no one has the sole truth—except as it relates to that particular entity.

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Metals, Makers, and Magic

 

hematite-bubble

hematite iron ore

Iron. It’s the first metal that comes to mind for most folk. Hardly surprising—we humans developed iron smelting and tools contemporarily with the alphabetic writing that enabled the bulk of our earliest human histories, and consequently name that era of human proto-history the Iron Age—a macroscopic example of iron in human existence. There’s also the microscopic example of iron in human existence—blood chemistry. Iron and its affinity for oxygen form the foundation of animal life on our planet.

 

Lodestone, that natural variant of magnetite (a naturally occurring ore of iron) is innately magnetic; modern geologists believe lodestones, routinely unearthed close to the surface, to have been permanently magnetized by lightning. Lodestones are, by definition, magnets— drawing to themselves small iron objects, or clinging readily to large ones. It must be magic, this movement without aid…

lodestone-magnet

magnetite iron ore: lodestone

 

These days, it is well known that if you spin a magnet, you get electricity, and if you coil a wire running electric current, you get magnetism. The two are, in essence, dimensional aspects of the other. That’s modern knowledge. What first our ancestors knew, millennia ago, was that a lodestone indicated north, and thus gave guidance when neither sun nor stars provided any. Hence its name in Old English lode + stan = lodestone, the stone that guides the way, a parallel to lodestar, an ancient name for the pole star that guided seafarers. A most practical magic, this, the magic of iron and magnets and north…

 

BLADE

1992 hand-forged athamé with heavy leather sheath

Smith. Blacksmith, metal-worker, skilled crafter—each one a maker of ploughshares and swords, hasps and hinges. Early European tales feature smiths of myth and legend: Hæphestus of Attica and Vulcan of Ætna, Wayland of Albion  or Völund of Jutland, plying skills that created storied blades and magical armor and household wonders. Their work survives everywhere—

 

Rocam_durandal

replica Durandal in château wall

a medieval castle in France holds fast in its wall a sword reputed to be Wayland’s work that dates from Charlegmagne (7th century)—the sword Durandal (or a replica thereof).

 

 

 

1850sIronNails

square iron nails c. 1850

While still a teen, I recall picking out rusty old square nails doing garden work  (given that was northern California, I can be pretty sure they were 19th century, or late 18th). Ironmongery lasts; another magical quality…

 

Makers. The human ability to create, dream up, envision some thing…and then make that thing, create that object, that ability is magical. It is no wonder humans have long revered those of us who achieve those common miracles of making. Out of thin air!…and not all of those makers are human. Rooks and ravens, baboons and bonobos…for all I know, the cetaceæ. It’s all magic, this making.…

Magic. Somewhere in the Western “Enlightenment,” came a disdain for magic, a separation from those who worked the magic of science and observation and experiment, and those who worked the magic of tradition and tales and contagion. We of the twenty-first century struggle to bridge both magics…the whiles we discover the new magics of transisters and quanta and quarks, and feud about how we may weave the new magics into the old. So sad, that the “one true way”—which has never existed despite Abrahamic religious clams throughout the past 1500 years—prevents the simple magic of emotion, of community, of love, from being recognized by all those who prefer to make their own world, and make it better. Yet even Carl Sagan himself, that quintessential materialist, came to recognize the magic of the universe…

 

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No one here gets out alive…

A very wise woman shared simple insights with me many years ago, on a day when it was widely reported in broadcast and print media that heart attack & heart disease were no longer the number one cause of death in the USA. She said, “That only rearranges the mortality statistics. Everyone dies of something.” Further along in that conversation, which ranged across probability theory, Mark Twain, and basic statistics, she gave me an example of just how one can make a true statement that gives a completely accurate single statistic which nonetheless implies a huge lie:

Very few people die over the age of 100.

Yep. Very few do. Very few live to the age of 100, either. But it’s a clear instance of the truth in Mark Twain’s famous quote:

There’s lies, damn lies, and statistics.

What brings all this up, you may ask? Simple—the intersection of two events: the recent celebration of Candlemas, one of the Traditional Wiccan fire festivals overseen by our Horned Lord of Death and Rebirth—January 31–February 2; and, the annual World Cancer Day on February 4 together with its media coverage on assorted outlets.*
*Compounded by the possibility that my companion animal and retired service dog Molly was reaching her virtual expiry date. More on that below.

About 45 years ago, I wrote a matched pair of epigrams:

Life is a death sentence.   Death is a life sentence.

Think about it. Everyone dies. Humans have the dubious honor of consciousness and foresight, so that they may know, and perhaps fear, what happens to them in the next moment or day or year or century. Thus, being alive is to have been sentenced to death from the outset. That’s the first sentence.

The second sentence? We live our lives with death. The death of others we do not know, the death of others we do know, and the death, eventually, of our own being.

Decisions, decisions…

About Molly. She’s a 14-year-old Bichon Frisé, my long-retired service dog, and sufferer of Cushing’s disease (people get it too, look it up if you care). And rather slowly, in the past four months, she has been reducing her activity and changing some habits and demanding more of me…and being less able to tolerate any absence of *me* from being the Molly-mommy. When she first had to retire as service dog (illness), she’d pine when I left her for a few days’ travel, but would begin eating after the first 24 hours or so. Last fall, when I spent a three-day visit with Craft family, she would not eat for my entire absence. Which meant she didn’t get her medication either, given it’s routinely dispensed atop her meals. Other behaviors stressed me (and I’m still recovering from a surgerythree months back) as well as her. I was preparing myself to decide that the kindest thing would to be to put her down (I travel out of state for a week mid-month)—because she is painful even asleep, by the yips and whimpers.

But.

When awake, Molly still enjoys her food, processes it appropriately, solicits tummy rubs from her occasional visitors, and spends a lot of time on our ever-shorter walks being noseblind while she “reads the bulletin boards” at every tree, telephone pole, lamppost, and rock garden along our way. Tail-wagging still happens a couple of times a day. And her personality is still pretty durn perky. Ouch.

Yesterday, a wonderful woman who loves her, too, has volunteered for the caretaking—whimpers and meds and pee pads and all—enabling me to attend the conference I was forced to miss a year ago. And today her vet says if doubling up on the current arthritis med doesn’t improve matters, Molly can have an actual pain scrip…and recommended fish oil (equal EPA & DHA) for her to improve the joints and maybe her mild dottiness…subtle stuff like forgetting how to unwind from those poles and trees on our ever-shorter walks.

So. My friends have been told that “the governor called, and Molly’s been reprieved.” And I slowly recover from the stress of believing that the only way out, this time, was final. No one here gets out alive, her nor me, but both of us have time together for a while yet.

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Candlemas

Now that we Northern Hemisphere types have recovered from the mundane stresses of the winter solstice, and—one hopes—from any inconvenient infections encountered during the annual shop/spend/socialize season, we wander into the depths of January (named, appropriately enough, for Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, of transitions and doorways and portals).

The success of our efforts over the Yuletide season to turn the Wheel of the Year with our festivities—from Solstice through Hogmanay (Twelfth Night)  has proven itself, with the evidently later sunsets that now give us a good 20 minutes of additional daylight. Said daylight tends to expose the soggy, chilly, frigid conditions that go with northern temperate climates at this season. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is an actual affliction; however most humans find the shrunken solar exposure of life in the higher latitudes a challenge that reminds us all that depression is real.

From the perspective of the Wicca, the Candlemas sabbat is one that reminds us all of the benefits of light. During the dark days of January, preparing some or all of one’s ritual candles for the next turn of the Wheel is an activity suited to cheer. Historically, at this season fires were never allowed to extinguish, providing the heat needed to render fats, purify oils, make soap, and dip or mold candles. The stores of autumn’s harvest and Hallowmas’ culling of herd or hunted provided the ingredients for those oils and waxes, and another year’s supply of lighting materials could take advantage of the precious fuel needed to maintain life, and provide some light—so necessary when when the feeble sunlight wanes to a handful of hours out of every twenty-four.

When a flick of a switch provides us substitute sunlight, it’s easy to overlook the importance of Candlemas, that celebration during the depths of winter, or midwinter as the old term has it. Making one or a few special candles at this season to bless by His light and Her grace echoes tradition rooted in need and practicality. And doing something towards our practice cheers the spirit—in these long nights and short days when students and workers and homebodies still wake in the dark and see the light disappear before supper.

Any means of candle-making works. I prefer natural beeswax, both for its innate scent and because paraffin is a distillate of petroleum. Soy waxes are available, but some near universal percentage of soy grown today is genetically engineered, a practice I consider folly. And besides…bees are sacred to Queen Mab.

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Brothers and Sisters of the Art

In the context of initiation, as one encounters for the first time the phrase, brothers and sisters of the Art, one experiences the sense of kinfolk, of being reunited with one’s people. The feeling warms one, and produces a sense of the larger connected tribe, often evoking that sense of coming home that many of us feel. And down the road, depending on the preferences of your elders, as well as your own, you may come to wish to participate in the larger family.

Certainly brothers and sisters of the Art are, indeed, a family, far-flung, widespread, and funky. Alas, they also act the same as does any other family. They support, they bitch, they hug, they gossip, they wound, they heal, they backstab, and sometimes, they reconcile.

They hold reunions for family…but limit the guest lists.

Some may create lines of communication specific to a particular part of the family—email lists or Facebook groups—for Gardnerians, or Alexandrians, or members of other traditions of British Traditional Wicca, or sub-groups of the same, for Johnsonites or Olwenites or Chthonoi or LI line or Kentucky line or Dogpatch line. It is likely that any given such list will exclude a sizable portion of the family you know to be Wicca.

The concept that any single guest list or elist or roster is both open to all of a particular British tradition of Witchcraft while being firmly closed to any not of the Wicca? Delusional.

To use a Potteresque term, anyone holding the belief that they are purebloods to the Nth degree…is like to to find a mudblood in every closet. Some less than more, some much more than not. Humans have been as like themselves as they continue to be.

Coven autonomy is an idea that we’re taught is true. Respect for coven autonomy, however, lasts only about as long as it takes any one of the Wicca to become infected with the fundamentalist* principle that there is only one true Wicca.

*Dictionaries will tell you that the very term “fundamentalist” is  a Christian concept.
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