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WICCA 101

What is Wicca? Well I'm glad you asked. Wicca is a contemporary Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence of nature as a manifestation of the Divine. Wicca views Deity as Goddess and God; thus it is polytheistic. It also embraces the practice of magick and accepts reincarnation. Religious festivals are held in the observance of the Full Moon and other astronomical {and agricultural} phenomena. It has no associations with Satanism. In fact as Wiccans we do not accept or believe in any thing called Satan. This doesn't mean that we don't believe that there is evil but we see that evil as beening in humans and not some falling Angel. Now before your hair stands on end, your head starts spinging, and you start hunting me down I would like to let every one know that these are MY beliefs and may in fact differ from some of my brothers and sisters but that is the great thing about Wicca. Even if we do not believe the down to the letter same things we still all agree on one thing: An it Harm None, Do as Thou Will!

A little about our Beliefs

The Council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft/Wicca in terms of the American experience and needs. We are not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures, and owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being. As American Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning within our Council. It is in the spirit of welcome and cooperation that we adopt these few principles of Wiccan belief. In seeking to be inclusive, we do not wish to open ourselves to the destruction of our group by those on self-serving power trips, or to philosophies and practices contradictory to these principles. In seeking to exclude those whose ways are contradictory to ours, we do not want to deny participation with us to any who are sincerely interested in our knowledge and beliefs, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national or cultural origins, or sexual preference. We therefore ask only that those who seek to identify with us accept these few basic principles:

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 toward 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 is 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 manifesting through polarity - as masculine and feminine - and that this same creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds - sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, etc. - and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal 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 have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it - a world view and philosophy life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make you a Witch - But neither does heredity itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with Nature.

9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the one true right and only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices 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 verious 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 Christian Tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.

13. We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.


EXERCISES AND MAGICAL TECHNIQUES

Breathing

Breathing is usually an unconscious act which we perform continuously throughout our lives. In magick and Wicca, however, breath can also be a tool for disciplining our bodies and enteringinto alternate states of consciousness. In order to meditate correctly, you must breathe correctly. This is the most basic of exercises and, fortunately, is also the easiest.

Deep breathing techniques require the full use of the lungs as well as of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is located about two fingerwidths below the navel. As you breathe in, push out with this region. Notice how much more air you can intake. For breathing exercises, assume a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down {although deep breathing is possible in nearly every position}. Relax your body slightly. Inhale through your nose to a slow count of three, four or five - Whatever is comfortable. Remember to allow the air to fill your diaphragm as well as your lungs. Retain the air, then exhale to the same slow count. Repeat this several times, gradually slowing your breath rate. Never hold your breath past the level of comfort. it should be controlled, calm, free of teneion. As you inhale, breathe in love, health, tranquillity.

Practice deep breathing exercises daily, and gradually increase your capacity to retain air. It is wise, if possible, to occasionally practice this near the sea or in a forest, far from the polluted air of our cities.

The Tree Of Life

{This is one of the most important meditations, which is practiced individually, as well as in the group. In solitery practice, begin by sitting or standing erect, and breathing deeply and rhythmically.}

"And as we breathe, remember to sit erect, and as your spine straightens, feel the energy rising...{pause}.

"Now imagine that your spine is the trunk of a tree... and from its base roots extend deep into the earth... into the center of the earth Herself...{pause}.

"And you can draw up power from the earth, with each breath...feel the energy rising... like sap rising through a tree trunk...

"And feel the power rise up your spine... feel your self becoming more alive.. with each breath...

"And from the crown of your head, you have branches that sweep up and back down to touch the earth... and feel the power burst from the crown of your head...and feel it sweep through the branches until it touches the earth again... making a circle... making a circuit... returning to its source...

{In a group:} "And breathing deeply, feel how all our branches intertwine... and the power weaves through them... and dances among them, like the wind... feel it moving..." {Long pause}. {Go on to next Exercise}

Earthing Power

{Also called grounding, earthing power is one of the basic techniques of magick.Power must be earthed every time it is raised. Otherwise, the force we feel as vitalizing energy degenerates into nervous tension and irritability. One way of groundeing the ebergy is by sucking it in and letting it flow through us into the earth. That technigue is often useful when working alone. The folowing exercise is best for groups}.

"Now sink to the ground and relax. Place your palms flat on the ground, or lie flat. Let the power sink through you into the earth, visualize the energy flowing down through you into the earth." {Even if you are meeting in a penthouse fifteen floors above the earth, visualize the energy flowing down to the actual ground.} "Relax, and let the force flow through you... let it flow deep into the earth... where it will be cleansed and renewed. Relax and let yourself drift peacefully."


Meditation

Meditation is an important art for inducing total relaxation. Too few of us find a moment of freedom from tensions and worries, so meditation is a welcome relief from the old bump and grind! More importantly, it's a quiet time in which we commune with the Goddess, the God and ourselves, Relaxing the conscious mind's hold on our psychic awareness. Meditation usually precedes every magical act and rite of worship.

Sit in a straight-backed chair, supporting your lower back with a pillow if necessary. Your chin should be level with the floor, eyes closed, back straight, hands resting on your knees. palms up and fingres relaxed. I this position you should be comfortable and relaxed, the spine straight and the torso erect. If you have poor posture, it may be some time before this position becomes comfortable.

Breathe deeply for several minutes. Relax. Forget. Visualize the multitude of tensions and worries of your everyday life exiting your body with your breath. Relax into the chair.

Now open your consciousness. Allow your conscious mind to be receptive and alert. Commune and talk with the deities. Toss around symbols in your head. If you wish, chant one of the names of the Goddess or /god, or a group of them. This is an excellent tool for slipping into the twilight world. Immediatly after each meditation, record all images, thought and sensations in a book.


VISUALIZATION

This is the most basic and yet advanced technique called for in magick and Wicca. The art of using our brains to "see" what is not physically present is a powerful magickal tool used in many Wiccan rituals. For instance, the forming of the magick circle Relies in part on the Wiccans ability to visualize personal power flowing out to form a sphere of glowing light around the ritual area. This Visualization, then, directs the power that actually creates the circle; it doesn't create it alone.

We can raise energy from our bodies, visualize it streaming out from our palms, and then form it into a small glowing sphere, Fashioning it physcially as if into a snowball, and mentally by seeing it as we desire.

In magick, I might raise energy and, While doing this, hold an image in my mind of something I need - a new car, for example. I visualize the car, see myself signing the contract to buy it, driving it on the road, pumping gas into ite tank and makeing payments. Then I direct energy to empower the visualization - to bring it into manifestation. To hone this tool, try these simple exercises, widly known within Wicca.

1. Decide upon an image to hold and retain it within your mind. You might wish to have it physically present and study it first, memorizing each detail - the way shadows play on it, its textures, colors, perhaps even a scent. You might choose a small three dimensional shap, such as a pyramid, or something more complex such as an image of Aphrodite rising from the sea or a ripe apple

After studying it thoroughly, close your eyes and see the object before them - just as if your eyes were open. Don't look at the object again with your physical eyes but with your magical imagination -



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