The Quest by FireWind
Dove's Light Coven Book of Shadows. Copyright© 1997 by Vera Baker, a.k.a., Dairhean Leborcham O'Handley, Dairhean L. O'Handley, Dairhean O'Handley, and Lady Dairhean, all registered pseudonyms. All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author.
This book, in its present form, is intended as a source of reference only. My original intent was to write my own rituals and essays pertaining to the subject matter. Due to college, work, and other obstacles in life, my writing and research was postponed. Therefore as an attempt to fill in space and give my book more substance, I have included works by other authors. In time, I plan to conduct more research and extract many of these works. I am offering it here so that students of Wicca or Theology may increase their knowledge of the subject.
Not all of my knowledge is presented here, and I have yet to write down my family's traditions. The reader will just have to ask me to explain them. On that note, allow me to say that I did not grow up in black robes with an Athame in my hand. Quite the contrary, my parents were Pagan, as opposed to Wiccan. I wrote a style of Wicca based on what I learned from my parents because Wicca is popular. What the reader will find in this book is not entirely what my parents practiced. I'm still keeping those practices a secret, not because their is anything particularly mystical about them or that no other person could possibly know about such practices, but because my childhood memories are special to me and I am simply not ready to share them with anyone as of yet.
To the best of my knowledge, my family's tradition goes as far back as my 2nd Great-Grandfather, Isaac Mitchell Handley, whose son, Isaac Beauregard Handley was a water witch. The men were talented musicians and the women were gifted healers. My grandmother, Rhennie Handley was the only "doctor" within 30 miles of a lumberjack camp in Arkansas. The only kind of medicine available to western settlers during the 1800s was herbal, but that doesn't make my grandmother a witch. Nor does it mean that she practiced witchcraft.. My father's family was Methodist, but during the Victorian Era and further back into history, Paganism was not distinguished from Christianity the way it is today. That distinction only came about during the mid-20th Century. I believe that Gardner cashed in on this paradigm shift when he coined the term "Wicca". Unfortunately for Pagans, he didn't stop there.
My father was born in 1910; he was a member of the Ancient Order of Druids and the O.B.O.D. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Scottish Rite, and adhered to 'Old School' Masonry. The only kind of divination I saw my father practice was by means of dominoes and poker cards. My mother was born in 1952; she was a hippie of the late 60s and 70s era. She practiced Wicca as a teenager and had her own Circle; she was also a powerful medium/channeler. My father died in 1990 when I was 16 and my mother began attending a Baptist church in 2008.
What brought them together was their knowledge, beliefs, and their love for the Green lifestyle. My parents were organic subsistence gardeners surrounded by commercial farmers and ranchers. My father had memories of the Depression and its accompanying Victory Gardens. My mother just grew up poor in a family that never progressed beyond the Depression Era. (Her family still recycles for money because that's how they choose to live. They don't know anything about ecology and don't care about saving the planet.)
Now introduce me to the equation. I was their only child and I possess my parents' combined knowledge of nearly a century, and add to that what I have acquired during my lifetime of studying Native American culture, Paleo-Anthropology, Ancient and Medieval History, Psychology, Law, Biology, Botany, and Theology/Religion. I'm still working on cramming all that knowledge into this book, so please be patient.
On a final note, I have cited all of the quotes I have taken from other authors and would appreciate being credited for my own work if a direct quote or paraphrase is taken from my book. Anything less is theft, plain and simple!
These laws were set up during the Burning Times. Although most are not needed now, they serve to remind us of what it was like to be a Witch in those days. In modern terms, these are the "by-laws" of Wiccan practice that have been handed down through the ages.
The Lady forefend that they ever be needed again!
The One Hundred and Sixty-One Laws
1. The law was made and ordained of old. 2. The law was made for the Wicca to advise and help in their troubles. 3. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey their will, which they ordain, for it was made for the good of the Wicca, as the worship of the Wicca is good for the Gods. For the Gods love the Brethren of the Wicca. 4. As a man loveth a woman by mastering her, 5. so the Wicca should love the Gods by being mastered by them. 6. And it is necessary that the Circle, which is the temple of the Gods, should be duly cast and purified, that it may be a fit place for the Gods to enter. 7. And the Wicca should be properly prepared and purified to enter into the presence of the Gods, 8. as has been taught of old. 9. For in this way only may man have a commune with the Gods. 10. With love and worship in their hearts, they shall raise power from their bodies, to give power to the Gods. 11. For the Gods cannot help man without the help of man.
12. And the High Priestess shall rule her coven as the representative of the Goddess. 13. And the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God. 14. And the High Priestess shall choose whom she will, be he of sufficient rank to be her High Priest. 15. For as the God Himself kissed Her feet in the five-fold salute, laying His power at the feet of the Goddess, because of Her youth and beauty, Her sweetness and kindness, Her wisdom and justice, Her humility and gentleness and generosity. 16. So He resigned all His power to Her. 17. But the High Priestess should ever mind that all power comes from Him 18. It is only lent, to be used wisely and justly. 19. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess be that she recognize that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess. 20. So she will gracefully retire in favor of a younger woman, should the Coven so decide in Council. 21. For the true High Priestess realizes that gracefully surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest virtues. 22. And that thereby she return to that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.
23. In the old days, when Witchdom extended far, we were free and worshipped in all the greatest temples, but in these unhappy times, we must celebrate our Sacred Mysteries in secret. 24. So be it ordained by ______ that none but the Wicca may see our Mysteries, for our enemies are many, and torture loosens the tongues of men. 25. So be it ordained by ______ that no Coven shall know where the next Coven bide, or who its members be save only the Priest and Priestess and the Messenger. 26. And there shall be no communications between them save only by the Messenger of the Gods or the Summoner. 27. And only if it be safe may the Covens meet in some safe place for the Great Festivals. 28. And while there, none shall say whence they come, nor give their true names. 29. To this end, that if any be tortured, in their agony, they may not tell if they do not know. 30. So be it ordained by ______ , that no one shall tell anyone, not of the Craft, who be of the Wicca, or give any names, or whence they bide, or in any tell anything which can betray any of us to our foes. 31. Nor may he tell where the Covendom be 32. Or the Covenstead. 33. Or where the meetings be. 34. And if any break these laws, even under torture, the curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they may never be reborn on Earth, and may they remain where they belong, in the Hell of the Christians.
35. Let each High Priestess govern her Coven with justice and love, with the help and advice of the High Priest and the Elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he comes. 36. She will heed all complaints of all brothers and strive to settle all differences among them. 37. But it must be recognized that there will always be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will. 38. These are not necessarily evil. 39. And they oft have good ideas and such ideas should be talked over in Council. 40. But if they will not agree with their brothers, or if they say: 41. "I will not work under this High Priestess." 42. It hath ever been the Old Law, to be convenient for the Brethren to avoid disputes. 43. Any of the Third may claim to found a new Coven because they bide over a league from the Covenstead or are about to do so. 44. Anyone living within the Covendom and wishing to form a new Coven shall tell the Elders of their intention and on the instant avoid their dwelling and remove to a new Covendom. 45. Members of the old Coven may join the new Coven when it is formed, but if they do, they must utterly avoid the old Coven. 46. The Elders of the old and new Covens should meet in peace and brotherly love to decide the new boundaries. 47. Those of the Craft who live outside both Covendoms may join either but not both. 48. Though all may, if the Elders agree, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love. 49. But splitting the Coven off means strife, so for this reason these Laws were made of old, and may the curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard them. So be it ordained.
50. If you would keep a book, let it be in your own hand of write; let brothers and sisters copy what they will, but never let the book out of your hands, and never keep the writings of another. 51. For if it be found in their hand of write, they may be taken and arraigned. 52. Let each guard his own writings and destroy them whenever danger threatens. 53. Learn as much as you can by heart, and when danger is past, rewrite your book an it be safe. 54. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book, an they have not been able to. 55. For an it be found, 'tis clear proof against them. 56. And our oppressors know well: "Ye may not be a Witch alone." 57. So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture. 58. So destroy everything not necessary.
59. If your book be found on you, 'tis clear proof against you alone. You may be arraigned. 60. Keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind. 61. If the torture be too great to bear, say; "I will confess. I cannot bear the torture. What do you wish me to say?" 62. If they try to make you talk of the Brotherhood, do not. 63. But if they try to make you speak of impossibilities such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian Devil, or sacrificing children or eating men's flesh. 64. To obtain relief from the torture, say: "I had an evil dream, I was beside myself; I was crazed". 65. Not all magistrates are bad; if there be any excuse, they may show mercy. 66. If you confessed ought, deny it afterwards. Say you babbled under torture; say you knew not what you said. 67. If you are condemned, fear not. 68. The Brotherhood is powerful and will help you to escape if you stand steadfast. But if you betray ought, there is no hope for you in this life or that to come. 69. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre, drugs will reach you, you will feel naught. You but go to death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.
70. To avoid discovery, let the working tools be as ordinary things that any may have in their hands. 71. Let the Pentacles be of wax so that they may be broken at once, or melted. 72. Have no sword unless your rank allows it. 73. Have no names or signs on anything. 74. Write the names or signs on them in ink immediately before consecrating them, and wash it off immediately afterwards. 75. Let the color of the hilts tell which is which. 76. Do not engrave them lest they cause discovery.
77. Ever remember, ye are the "Hidden Children of the Goddess", so never do anything to disgrace them or Her. 78. Never boast, never threaten, never say you would wish ill of anyone. 79. If any person, not in the Magic Circle, speak of the Craft, say: "Speak not to me of such, it frightens me. 'Tis evil luck to speak of it." 80. For this reason: The Christians have their spies everywhere. They speak as if they were well affected of us, as if they would come to our meetings, saying; "My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would I could go myself." 81. To such as these, ever deny all knowledge. 82. But to others, ever say: "Tis foolish men talk of Witches flying through the air. To do so they must be light as thistledown. And men say that Witches all be bleary-eyed old crones, so what pleasure can there be at a Witch meeting such as folks talk on?" 83. And say: "Many wise men now say there be no such creatures." 84. Ever make it a jest and in some future time, perhaps, the persecution may die and we may worship our Gods in safety again. 85. Let us all pray for that happy day. 86. May the blessings of the Goddess and the God be on all those who keep these laws which are ordained by ____.
87. If the Craft have any appanage, (land granted by a sovereign ) let all guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft. 88. And let all justly guard all monies of the Craft. 89. But if any brother truly wrought it, 'tis right they have their pay, an it be just. And this be not taking money for the Art, but for good and honest work. 90. And ever the Christians say, "The laborer is worthy of hire," but if any brother work willingly for the good of the Craft without pay, ties to their greatest honor. So be it ordained by ______ and _______.
91. If there be any quarrels or disputes among the Brethren, the High Priestess shall straightly convene the Elders and inquire into the matter and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together. 92. And they shall decide jointly, not favoring the one side or the other. 93. Ever recognizing there be people who cannot work under others. 94. But at the same time there be some people who cannot rule justly. 95. To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer. 96. Void the Coven or such another one or make a Coven of your own, taking with you those who will go. 97. To those who cannot, justly the answer be, "Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you." 98. For none may come to meeting with those whom they are at variance. 99. So, an either cannot agree, "Get hence, for the Craft must ever survive!" So be it ordained by ______ and ______.
100. In the olden days, when we had power, we could use the Art against any who ill-treated the Brotherhood. But in these evil days, we must not do so! For our enemies have devised a burning pit of everlasting fire, into which they say their god casteth all the people who worship him, except it be the very few who are released by their priest's spells and masses; and this be chiefly by giving monies and rich gifts to receive his favor, for their God is ever in need of money. 101. But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for man and crops, so is the god of the Christians ever in need of man's help to search out and destroy us. Their priests ever tell them that any who get our help are damned to this hell forever, so men be made mad with the terror of it. 102. But they make men believe that they may escape this hell if they give victims to the tormentors. So for this reason, all be forever spying, thinking, "An I catch but one of the Wicca, I will escape this fiery pit." 103. So for this reason, we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding say; "There be none, or if there be, they be in a far country." 104. But when one of our oppressors dies, or even be sick, ever they cry, "This be Witches' malice!" and the hunt is up again, and though they slay ten of their own to one of ours, still they care not. They have countless thousands. 105. While we are few indeed. So be it ordained by _____ and ______. 106. That none shall use the Art in any way to do ill to any. 107. However much they injure us - harm none - and now times many believe we exist not. 108. That this law shall ever continue to help us in our plight. No one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the Art in any way to do ill or harm any. But they may, after great consultations with all, use the Art to restrain Christians from harming the Brothers but only to let or constrain them. 109. To this end; men will say: "Such an one is a mighty searcher out and a persecutor of old women when they desire to be Witches, and none that hath done him harm, so it be proof they cannot, or more truly there be none." 110. For all know full well, that many folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had none to bribe the searchers and many have died because they were scolding old women. So much so that men now say that "only old women be Witches." 111. And this be to our advantage, and turns suspicion away from us. 112. In England and Scotland, ties now many a year since a Witch has died the death. But misuse of the power might raise the persecution again. 113. So never break this Law, however much you are tempted, and never consent to it being broken in the least. 114. If you know it is being broken, you must work strongly against it. 115. And any High Priestess or High Priest who consents to its breach must immediately be deposed. "For ties the blood of the Brethren they endanger."
116. Do good, an it be safe and only if it be safe. 117. And strictly keep to the Old Law. 118. Never accept money for the use of the Art. For money ever smeareth the taker. "Tis sorcerers and conjurers and priests of the Christians who ever accept money for the use of the Arts." 119. And they sell pardons to let men escape from their sins. 120. Be not as these. If you accept no money, you will be free from temptation to use the Art for evil courses.
121. All may use the Art for their own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you are sure you harm none. 122. But ever let the Coven debate this at length. Only if all be satisfied that none be harmed may the Art be used. 123. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none. May the curse of the Goddess be on any who break this Law. So be it ordained by _______ and _______.
124. Tis judged lawful if any of the Craft need a house or land and none will sell, to incline the owner's mind so as to be willing to sell, providing it harm it not in any way and the full price is paid, without haggling. 125. Never bargain or cheapen anything you buy by the Art. So be it ordained by ________ and ________.
126. Tis the Old Law and most important of all laws that no one may do anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them into contact with the law of the land, or any of our persecutors. 127. In any dispute between the Brethren, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft. 128. Or any tribunal but that of the Priestess, Priest and the Elders.
129. It is not forbidden to say as Christians do: "There be Witchcraft in the land." because our oppressors of old make it heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby puts you under suspicion. 130. But ever say, "I know not of it here, perchance there may be, but afar off - I know not where." 131. But ever speak of those as old crones, consorting with the Fiend and riding through the air. 132. And ever say: "But how may many ride the air an they be not light as thistledown?" 133. But the curse of the Goddess be on any who cast suspicion on any of the Brotherhood. 134. Or who speaks of any real meeting place where any abide.
135. Let the Craft keep books with the names of all herbs which are good and all cures so all may learn. 136. But keep another book with all the Bills and Apices, and let only the Elders and other trustworthy people have this knowledge. So be it ordained by ______ and _______. (Bills are probably laws, and "apice" is the plural of "apex".) 137. And may the blessings of the Gods be on all who keep these Laws and the curse of both the God and the Goddess be on all who break them.
138. Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods and only may be used in earnest and never for show or vainglory. 139. Magicians and Christians may taunt us saying: "You have no power. Show us your power. Do magic before our eyes. Then only will we believe." seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them. 140. Heed them not. For the Art is holy and may only be used in need. And the curse of the Gods be on any who break this Law. So be it ordained by _______ and _______.
141. It ever be the way with women and with men also, that they ever seek new love. 142. Nor should we reprove them for this. 143. But it may be found to the disadvantage of the Craft. 144. As, so many times it has happened that a High Priest or High Priestess impelled by love, hath departed with their love, that is, they have left the Coven. 145. Now, if a High Priestess wishes to resign, she may do so in full Coven. 146. And this resignation is valid. 147. But if they should run off without resigning who may know if they may not return in a few months? 148. So the Law is this: If a High Priestess leaves her Coven, she be taken back and all be as before. 149. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. 150. If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then shall the Coven elect a new High Priestess. 151. Unless there be a good reason to the contrary. 152. The person who has done the work, should reap the benefit of the reward, maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.
153. It hath been found that practicing the Art doth cause a fondness between aspirant and tutor, and it is the cause of better results if this be so. 154. And if for any reason, this be undesirable, it can easily be avoided, by both persons from the onset firmly resolving in their minds to be as brother and sister or parent and child. 155. And it is for this reason that a man may be taught only by a woman and a woman by a man, and that woman and woman and man and man should never attempt these practices together. So be it ordained by _______ and _______.
156. Order and discipline must be kept. 157. A High Priestess may and should punish all faults. 158. To this end: All the Craft must receive their correction willingly. 159. All properly prepared, the culprit should be told his fault, and his sentence pronounced. 160. Punishment should be followed by something amusing. 161. The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing the hand of the High Priestess on receiving sentence, and again thanking for punishment received. So be it ordained by ______ and _______.
Here end the Laws. Blessed Be!
Source: Robin Wood
Principles of Wiccan Belief
as adopted by the Council of American Witches, April 1974
1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the moon and the Seasonal Quarters and Cross-Quarters.
2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility towards our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called 'supernatural,' but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifest through polarity--as masculine and feminine--and that same Creative power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.
5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds, known sometimes as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc... and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who courageously give of themselves in leadership.
7. We see religion, magic, and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and live within it--a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as 'Witchcraft--the Wiccan Way.'
8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make one a Witch--but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within themselves that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.
9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.
10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be 'the only way' and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.
11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.
12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil," as defined by the Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.
13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
This is not in any way an all-encompassing credo applicable to all groups who consider themselves Wiccans or Witches, but rather is the set of principles adopted by one such group. As there are differences between various Christian sects, so are there differences between those of Wicca. However, while the specifics may differ, the general attitude and reasoning behind these declarations remains relatively consistent.
Source: (Witch Haven)
Witch's Code of Chivalry
Insofar as the Craft of the Wise is the most ancient and most honorable creed of humankind, it behooves all who are Witches to act in ways that give respect to the Old Ones, to their sisters and brothers of the Craft, and to themselves. Therefore, be it noted that:
*Chivalry is a high code of honor which is of most ancient Celtic Pagan origin, and must be lived according to by all who follow the Old ways.
*It must be kenned that thoughts and intent put forth on this Middle-Earth will wax strong in other worlds and return...brining into creation on this world, that which had been sent forth. Thus, one should exercise discipline, for 'as ye sow, so shall ye reap.'
*It is only by preparing our minds to be spiritual that we can ultimately attain spirituality.
*'This above all...to thine own self be true...'
*A Witch's word must have the validity of a signed and witnessed oath. Thus, give thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron.
*Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known.
*Pass not unverified words about another, for hear-say is in large part, a thing of falsehoods.
*Be thou honest with others, and have them known that honest is likewise expected of them.
*The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one's head is a virtue.
*Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to harm another.
*There are differences between those of the Old Ways; diverse covens and circles may well have diverse views. These views, even if they are different than yours, should always be given respect. When a coven, circle, clan, or grove is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practices, and abide thereby.
*Dignity, a gracious manner, and a good humor are much to be admired.
*As a Witch, thou hast power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore exercise discretion in the use thereof.
*Courage and honor endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have crumbled to dust.
*Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen others of the Brethren and they shall strengthen thee.
*Thou shalt not reveal the secrets of another Witch or another Coven. Others have labored long and hard for them, and cherish them as treasures.
*Those who follow the mysteries should be above reproach in the eyes of the world, and should always seek to make this so.
*The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible and within reason. For in the main, they have been chosen with wisdom for the well-being of all.
*Have pride in thyself and seek perfection in body and mind. For the Lady hath said, "How canst thou honor another unless thou give honor to thyself first?"
*Those who seek the Mysteries should consider themselves as select of the Gods. For it is they who lead the race of humankind to the highest of thrones and beyond the very stars.
Source: ( Angel Fire)
The Witches' Creed2
Hear now the words of the witches, the secrets we hid in the night, when the dark was our destiny's pathway, that now we bring forth into light. Mysterious water and fire, the earth and the wide-ranging air, by hidden quintessence we know them, and will and keep silent and dare. The birth and rebirth of all nature the passing of winter and spring, we share with the life universal, rejoice in the magical ring.
Four times in the year The Great Sabbat returns, and the Witches are seen, at [Lughnasadh and Imbolc] dancing on May Eve and old Hallowe'en. When day-time and night-time are equal, when sun is at greatest and least, the four Lesser Sabbats are summoned, and Witches gather in feast. Thirteen silver moons in one year are, thirteen is the coven's array thirteen times at Esbat make merry, for each golden year and a day.
The power that was passed down the age each time between woman and man, each century unto the other, [every] time and the ages began. When drawn is the magical circle, by sword or athame of power, its compass between two worlds lie, in land of the shades for that hour this world has no right then to know it, and the world beyond will tell naught.
The oldest of Gods are invoked there, the Great Work of magic is wrought. For the two are mystical pillars, that stand at the gate of the shrine, and two are the powers of nature, the forms and the forces divine. The dark and the light in succession, the opposites each unto each, shown forth as a God and a Goddess: of this our ancestors teach. By night he is the wild wind's rider, the Horn'd One, the Lord of the Shades. By day he's the King of the Woodland, the dweller in green forest glades.
She is youthful or old as she pleases, she sails the torn clouds in her barque, the bright silver lady of midnight, the crone who weaves spells in the dark. The master and mistress of magic, that dwell in the deeps of the mind, immortal and ever renewing, with the power to free or to bind.
So drink the good wine to the Old Gods, and dance and make love in their praise till Elphame's fair land shall receive us in peace at the end of our days. And do what you will be the challenge, so be it Love that harms none. For this is the only commandment. By Magic of old, be it done!
By: Doreen Valiente "Witchcraft for Tomorrow"
Source: (Witch Haven)
Foot to foot, that we should go where our help can we bestow.
Thus, our steps should always lead to those in need.
Knee to knee, that we may share every brother's needs in prayer.
Giving all his wants a place, when we seek the throne of grace.
Breast to breast, to there conceal, what our lips should not reveal.
Druid's secrets to us known, we must cherish as our own.
Hand to back, our love to show, to our brother bending low.
That the weak may always stand, that our lips may whisper cheer
to our brother in distress, whom our words may aid and bless.
Warn him if he fails to see, dangers that are known to thee.
Foot to foot and knee to knee, breast to breast as brothers be.
Hand to back and mouth to ear that the mystic words we hear,
which we otherwise conceal, but on these [eight] points reveal.
Source: (The Lodge and the Craft, 177-8)
History of the Craft4
It was by the priests of these temple compounds that the arts of writing and mathematics were invented, together with an early science of exact astronomical observation which had been made possible by recorded notations. The measured movements of the seven visible planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) along an apparently circular path through the constellations, led to the realization of a mathematically ordered cosmos. And with this awareness, the focus of mythic concern shifted from the earlier animal and plant messengers (Animism/Shamanism) to the night sky and its mathematics. This cosmic order, illustrated in the heavens, was to be imitated on earth where the festivals of the religious year still follow the seasonal signs of the sun and moon. And to the God whose glory the heavens proclaim, there is daily lifted the Christian prayer: "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (As above, so below!) The idea was carried to Egypt and appears there with the First Dynasty, c. 2850 BCE; to Crete and eastward to the Indus Valley, c. 2000 BCE; to China with the Shang Dynasty, c. 1500 BCE; and to Mexico four or five centuries later.
In the literate high cultures and their religions which first manifested in the temples of Sumer and in the pyramid tombs of Egypt, there was joined to the timeless earlier mysteries of the animal messengers, sacred mountains, and plant spirits, a new and grander mystery of the circling eons of the heavens. The Goddess Mother of the alternating tides of life and death, who formerly had been chiefly of this earth, then became of the cosmic order; and under innumerable names, she receives worship as the supreme personification of that ambiguous mystery--of life in death and death in life.
Read my notes on PaleoAnthropolgy. Some of the information contained there may be slightly outdated, but still valid nonetheless and presents a well-grounded primer on the subject.
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