The Germanic tribes, until recent times, have maintained a peculiar connection to the Great Spirit, known as Wicca. This religion was largely ousted by Christianity, but has survived by a thread to this day.
So can we connect with this thread, and can we distinguish the essence from
all the baggage that has been added to it in more recent times? We can begin
with an exercise:
Wicca is an earth centred practice. Just this simple exercise is enough to make an initial connection. The intent is already there. So what is happening here?
A tree is part of the mantle of life covering Earth. It is a particularly strong part. By watching your breathing, you connect with subconscious mind – that is the part which maintains your heartbeat and breathing. You don’t have to think to do it.
This is enough to attract the experiences and teaching you need. There are many books and many paths, so now we need to know how to navigate. We must understand that people need different experiences along the way, and that no one path is complete. We may follow one for a while to find another.
We may introduce here a few core strands of Wicca, as distinct from the various ideas which have attached to it from time to time:
We could add the likelihood of plant lore, psychic development and divining.
Many other features are now associated with wicca, especially since the early 20th century, when there was a revival of interest in the occult. We could list tarot, Egyptian symbology, Arabic influences and so on.
Strikingly, what wicca does not have is a priesthood. It is fundamentally a feminine power, and has no need - which brings us to the Coven.
Traditionally thirteen women, but flexible, this is the unit through which wicca functions best. It is essentially a ring rather than leader and follower. As such, the members explore together and share in each other’s joy, sorrow, and power. This rather leaves men out in the cold, but they work better alone.
A spell is the focus of intent. It is stronger when cast by a group. Spells may be by ritual or incantation. Both of these manipulate Force.
Force is willpower in action. All that happens on Earth, happens within
A spell can therefore work in two ways. It either invokes the aid of that intelligence, or seeks to override it and manipulate energy directly.
Calling, is white magic. It can only request that which is within nature’s intent, or remit. For instance, a healing, or the enhanced growth of a plant or field. The spell calls on divas or nature spirits to use force on our behalf, by means or ritual or words.
The alternative way is another matter. All physical results are carried out by nature spirits, responding to thought. This thought may be a great plan, or just a blade of grass. Nature spirits – those points of consciousness in the energy field, can only respond to instruction. They have no active intelligence.
It follows then, that if a ritual can harness nature spirits, they can be used to do our bidding. This is a grey area. In most cases we may be of the best intention, but if we are not working with nature, our best intentions may not be as pure as we think. In the worst case scenario, it can be used for cursing or self gain. This of course, is the left hand path.
This is the basic shape used to weave magic – to manipulate the energy field of the planet. It represents the four elements plus a fifth point – the synthesis of the spell.
When activated, the pentagram is in reality a pyramid with its fifth point as the apex, but is marked out on the ground as five points. This pyramid is positively charged and therefore has a shadow of negative charge beneath it. We should understand the word negative to mean receptive.
So to stand in a pentagram is to stand in a vortex, positively charged above our head, receptively charged beneath our feet. This is the cone of power. Of course this power is only equal to our own degree of connection to spirit. The pentagram can never be used for personal gain, but certainly can for protection or growth.
This is the power of menopause, which can be a gateway to a greater level of power. It is the power of the sacral chakra to resonate to the principle of Nurture, but on a less personal level, now it is no longer needed to nurture a baby. To put it another way, the goddess principle can express itself through a crone, once she has made the connection.
To this end, a visualisation can open the door:
The Germanic peoples have had a connection with forest, going back into the mists of time. The English have now all but lost it. We could imagine a woodland as a particularly vital patch on Earth’s surface. This energising force can literally maintain our health. You don’t have to hug a tree to feel it!
It is only by going into a wood that we can demonstrate this:
You will be surprised. We can all do our bit by protesting loudly the loss of
any woodland, especially mature trees, and by supporting any efforts to plant
So what is this mysterious being that seems to crop up all over? It is the consciousness fundamental to Earth itself, hence its universality. It is the ability of this planet to Nurture what we know as life.
The Goddess is a diva - that is, a conscious entity that comes into being for a specific purpose. It is thought only, but controls all life processes via its counterpart Pan. It is also known as Mother Earth.
Since it is nurturing, it is perceived as feminine. Most cultures throughout history have personified such truths as gods or other deities as their way of understanding them.
All of nature is animated by an intelligence known as Pan. It responds to the plan for each and every species on earth. Since we live in animal bodies ourselves, Pan is the motivating force behind our physical life. Pan has been known to various cultures as a stag/man, amongst other manifestations. The symbology being vitality, the inclusion of man’s body, and the antlers encompassing the crown chakra.
We can meet this being, at least as a reassuring presence:
Let’s be real. This is not a spell to conjure up a vision, but repeat this a few times and you will notice nature communicating with you. The odd behaviour of a bird for instance, may carry a fleeting impression with it. Soon it becomes unmistakable.
Cloaks and Cats and Amulets
We are all familiar with the old hag of fairy tales, generally the villain of good, god - fearing folk. Who is she really? Firstly, we have shown that a crone is a woman who has achieved a certain connection with the Goddess – she is empowered to nurture. This is to some extent unavailable to men or younger women.
This contact makes a Familiar a likely source of knowledge. Some animals are willing to take this role, mostly cats, crows (including jackdaws and ravens), and eagles. Since animals and nature are one, they offer a doorway into realms of thought we don’t usually access. This enables the seeker to ‘see’ from their perspective
The cloak symbolise concealment, or the wearing of another identity. Once donned, perceptions can alter.
Amulets are objects empowered with an idea. The single thought is held on a vibrational level. This can be accessed and incorporated into the user’s thought or behaviour.
Familiar to us now as a face sprouting oak leaves, this figure still graces a few English churches, surviving against the odds. He was once a regular at the rites of the farming year. As with the cloak, the mantle of greenery provides the wearer with insight into nature.
He was originally an Oracle. In a society where survival depends on planting and harvesting, we can see how important he may have been. We could also understand him as the mouthpiece of Pan.
Rites of Plenty
Ancient society progresses season by season. To survive, it must respect and understand them. We could describe the various rites of Spring, harvest, beating the bounds etc as ‘field magic’,
Nature is an intelligence. As such, we may seek to understand it in order to
synchronise with its agenda, or we may ask its aid. In the second case, it is
quite possible to enhance the growth of a crop, or inhibit the competition. The
old rites may be lost, but we may request new ones.
How do crops grow? We must understand that a single species, growing to the exclusion of all others, is rare in nature. As such, nature is always trying to restore balance and colonise the space. Crops thrive when Man has excluded the competition and nourished the ground.
By Field Magic, we refer to any means by which this situation can be
maintained, by manipulating energy.
If we could persuade Nature to intervene and add the necessary resonance within a given space, we could get the same effect.
Secondly, weeds. Each species of plant is the result of conscious thought by an entity known as a plant diva, or spirit. This is the source of a plant’s life. We can therefore ask that intelligence to withdraw its force.
Lastly, by creating a concentration of one plant only, we are offering a feast to any plant or creature that normally eats it. This can result in spectacular damage as these diners thrive and multiply. We can request restraint from these divas also.
In order to achieve these aims, we need first to define a given area. This will usually be a field. We then establish this as a dynamic space by ritual or request.
Rites and Pleas
We have here the origins of many of the quaint old customs of times gone by. Ritual is a means of achieving results by directly bidding nature to do our will. It is of a lower order than a plea, but may be enhanced by receiving from nature the correct ritual. It can then be handed down, and practiced by others with no direct access to nature, provided they follow the procedure exactly.
A Plea can be made directly to nature (hence the Green Man), but only by those who have established contact. Success depends on the degree of that contact, explained in ‘Earth Mysteries’.
Since the earliest times, Man has sown and harvested by the moon. Even now some farmers do so, because it seems to work.
Put simply. The gravitational pull of the moon affects the fertility aspect of Mother Earth. That is to say, that when the moon is waxing, reproduction and germination are stimulated. We can take advantage of this in two ways.
Firstly, any ritual calling for fertility is greatly enhanced during the first three days of the moon, and will be ineffective once it is waning.
Secondly, sowing during these three days guarantees a better harvest.
Why is this? It is because the moon’s pull causes tides – which affect all
fluids on earth. At new moon a new cycle begins. Germination is triggered by
moisture, which carries with it that imprint of new impetus. We could liken this
to an injection of extra vitality.
From this perspective we can see that some rituals, performed at certain phases of the moon, can have more power (or even none). This is because they tap into those cycles within the goddess which are rhythmic, ie monthly. These relate to rituals regarding fertility, growth, binding and withdrawing.
So the moon doesn’t affect fire rituals. They are of the sun, and are
therefore most potent at various points of the yearly cycle.
So what bearing does this have on wicca? Wicca is an earth centred religion, steeped in lunar rituals. This is by nature somewhat introspective. If we knowingly introduce more fire (sun) rituals into our work, our consciousness becomes more dynamic or outward, and we should achieve more.
Lastly, we should be aware that moon cycles affect women far more than men. For this reason men should try to understand that women feel differently to them. Once they are immersed in wicca, women will have a level of non-logical understanding that men are unlikely to share. They should therefore be listened to.
So what does the green man do? As an oracle, he is the mouthpiece for nature
– hence his eloquent symbolism. Since not many of us are able to listen to
nature, he must deliver information that can be used by those who need it.
Ritual is the means by which we can all access nature, and achieve results. Rituals thus given, work with the natural flow of life. They can never impose what is not appropriate.
When Man clears a field and sows crops, he creates an artificial space in nature. This also offers the right conditions for various plants and insects, that we then call weeds and pests. So to seek their partial withdrawal, is to return to a natural balance. To expect their total withdrawal is not.
The following ritual is to enable crops to grow, without being hindered by weeds or pests:-
Sit in the field or space, and ask out loud to be heard (or strike your wand/ staff three times, or your personal call).
Name the area for the ritual to apply to. In a field or garden this is straight forward. For any other space, clearly define it.
Facing north, say out loud ‘’ I ask that the crops in this space be free from hindrance and disease. I ask that they be protected against attack and against drought. So be it (or, so mote it be.)
Give thanks, or make your offering.
This must be performed during the three days following full moon. Repeat each year.
Managing the Landscape
This again, is almost always a man-made space. As such, it strays from the ideal of nature, to a greater or lesser degree. We can see this for instance, on a hillside smothered in bracken, as well as more obvious cases.
The landscape can always be enlivened by ritual, but there are situations when this is pressing.
The invasion of alien species, epidemics such as Dutch Elm disease, and wanton destruction by Man are the most serious. We can do much for these with a ritual of protection:-
Repeat the previous procedure, naming an area no bigger than you can see.
Say ‘’I ask for protection of this landscape, that it may prosper. That it may return to health, and unwelcome presences withdraw’’.
Repeat after three years.
The word ‘spell’ comes from Old English to speak. It is the magic of Words. In almost every culture, words spoken in ritual have carried power. They work by commanding elementals, or nature spirits to do one’s bidding.
This is the use of words or song only. Certain words carry the power to change situations. These are words which refer to certain truths or facts in nature. By placing them in the right order, and maybe repeating them, an instruction is sent out, to which elementals must respond.
This is a series of symbolic acts, which have similar effects to words. Often both are used. The classic image of a spell chanted over a bubbling cauldron adds a third dimension.
Herbal medicine is nothing special until it is empowered. Although the specialist in plant lore will do this in the gathering, it can also be done to some extent in the pot. The addition of animal parts, especially gall bladder, adds a psychic dimension.
The Spoken Word
There was a time when speech was the only form of the word. Any information therefore had to be remembered. Thus any ritual or spell only kept its power while it was passed on correctly. In the age of the electronic word, we have forgotten the mental effort that went into memorising them.
Rituals given to the seeker from Mother Earth are always concise.
The words are exact. Spoken in sequence, they have force.
We can add to their emotional effect by making them into verse or
song, but the sequence of key words must be kept. The few
examples we have of Saxon charms etc, display a magnificent use of
alliterative language. The same can be said of Welsh or Irish
Any spell cast using a pentagram is powerful because it is magnified by a cone of power. As already mentioned, a pentagram has a positive/receptive charge. The cone of power is an impulse created by this charge. A charge can only exist within the magnetic field. This grounds the original impulse from pure thought down onto the energy level – where it has to do its work.
The pentagram is the best tool for protection. In modern times this is not as
important as before, but can still be very useful. A basic technique:
The other use of the pentagram is to empower any spell, which is to benefit
those involved. It cannot be used for any negative purpose, owing to its
The Cone of Power
This is a vehicle for your Intent, and also the most powerful type of spell.
Apart from the pentagram, it can also be created by two or more people, and
thereby harness more power:
By this means a cone is created, positively charged above the circle, receptively charged at its centre. It must be sent to fulfil its task to a location or an event. That is to say, the idea is projected, and the cone forms around it in the magnetic field.
Nature fulfils its complex functions by myriad points of thought, each with a specific purpose. Some thoughts are more complex and therefore govern the tinier ones. These are known as elementals, or nature spirits. They respond to a plan. They spontaneously form when needed, but have no will of their own.
Sorcery is the dark art of manipulating these elementals, to respond to the will of the sender. It is therefore unlikely to be in accord with natural law. As such, it contravenes evolution, which is the defining criterion of the left hand path. This can only lead to unhappiness.
The symbol of synthesis or renewal. It is therefore in the sphere of the Goddess, rather than Pan. This is primarily plant magic. Some plants have psychic properties, as do some animal parts.
These can be captured at time of picking, but can also be liberated in the pot, by boiling, burning, or incantation. This is alchemy. The function of these spells is to mend fractured lives.
To jump the broom is to jump into a state of receptivity, where we can talk or listen to spirit. The broom symbolises a threshold into a cleansed space.
To ride the broom is to be astride it – to be astride the mundane and spirit worlds. Contrary to popular image then, the broom doesn’t fly, it symbolises the grounding in day to day life, of that gained in a more receptive state.
This is a likeness which is used as a substitute for another person, or idea. In the best known scenario, pins are stuck in a doll, which represents the person who is the subject of the sorcerer’s malice. This is the dark side of a once widespread practice in folk magic.
The best example is the Corn Dolly. The figure was made of the harvest corn, and set up as an object of gratitude. This very real act, maintains a connection with the goddess.
This is the cut down version of the wizard’s staff. Any rod can be charged
with power by placing it north-south on the ground, and doing a simple ritual:
This charge can be released at will to achieve certain ends. It can relieve a situation which is bound or stuck. It can empower any spell. The power of a wand or staff depends on the connection of the user with the Great Spirit. It cannot be of use to another, and must be recharged from time to time..
Once commonplace, these belong to a time when people were mostly illiterate.
Those who could write were monks – who were certainly not interested in
promoting pagan magic. Consequently, the few written charms and spells
surviving, have been heavily christianised.
The Circle of St Columbkill
The seeker is instructed to inscribe on a quernstone with his knife. In the
illustration this is largely Roman numerals, but what is important is that the
meaning is clear – protect this field.
The inscription carries the will of the doer.
The mealstone is not only a powerful symbol, but a sacrifice, since it was a precious possession. The spell cannot fail.
To Retrieve Stolen Goods
A charm is sung, requesting the goods be found. In this version it is a request to God, using Christian wording. This has of course replaced the earlier pagan rendition, but a plea to spirit is just that – in any language.
In the first case, the request is grounded by a physical object, connected to
This spell beautifully demonstrates how to ground a request in the most
fitting manner, to suit the occasion .
For Protection and a Bountiful Crop
This amazing spell includes specific instructions, and beautiful poetry, in spite of what is lost in translation.
Strange seed in this context, means merely this particular seed, taken from the poor and repaid in double. The procedure starts with an act of giving, to where most needed. The plough is prepared, including salt, which is the usual ingredient to ground a spell, and the seed.
The charm is then sung. We can only imagine its effect, in the original alliterative tongue. We can see that contemporary religious understanding has been added to the original, but a spell must be relevant to whoever uses it.
A loaf is baked from meal of each kind of last year’s crop, and lain under the first furrow. This simple act speaks to Mother Earth more eloquently than words.
* ‘Hello’ This has the same effect as tapping the wand three times.
Shamans and Witches
So who are these people – are they real ? We need to ask the question, since many answer to the name. It would be helpful to look at the possibilities.
We could understand a witch as anyone who is on a path of self development, involving Mother Earth. This then includes anyone practicing wicca, be they beginner or adept.
Witchcraft is a means of directing the will, which in turn can only be achieved by self development. Such people were also known at one time, as cunning women or men. Within this broad spectrum are many paths, and one may follow one or several. Indeed, they overlap.
Fire. The elements commanded in wicca are earth and fire. Although we may include air and water in rituals, they are not ours to command, but we may learn from their participation. It may surprise most people, that fire and love are the one and same thing. As such, anyone using fire, must develop their heart centre. The candle then becomes a stronger tool.
Earth. This is the main element we use – since we live within it, and appropriate it for our bodies. Nearly all rituals rely on earth elementals to do their work. So we can say that everyone uses earth, and some also fire.
A Seer is one who has developed the sense of second sight to some degree. This is the ability to see on the energy level, where life is perceived as a web of light. This is another aspect of the earth element, enabling the seer to see or contact nature spirits.
A Shaman is one who has gained the help of animal spirits. This is quite an achievement. They are therefore usually adept in other areas of magic.
Wizards are those who can summon nature spirits at will. They are beyond the need for rituals and spells.
It is quite possible that an adept will combine all three.
If we regard the word witch, as all those who follow the path of wicca (and there is no definition set in stone), then we can see that witches can become any of the above, in time.
The Familiar. Traditionally a black cat, but others may be a crow, jackdaw, raven, hare or goat. A witch may develop a psychic link with one of these i.e. an emotional link via the solar plexus. This will enhance their understanding of nature, from that creature’s perspective.
This is not to be confused with the power animal of a shaman, which is a higher level of communication. The pre-eminent power animal of wicca was the bear. However, as these were long since killed off, we now only have the eagle and the badger. They can assist the shaman to a remarkable degree.
We can see from all this, a fluid state where a beginner’s path may take them in various directions – some a long way, some just a look. We can be sure that we will meet people along the way who will help, or open doors. We may also be sure that as we progress, we do the same for others.
Earth Centred Ritual
It would be helpful in this time of renewed interest in all thing
mystical, ethnic, magical and so on, to consider the place of wicca
in relation to other practices and beliefs. We could start
with a truism ; that all paths ultimately lead towards self
knowledge, and therefore to greater union with life itself.
This is central to wicca, since spells, pentagrams etc work
within nature, and we can only progress by resonating ever more in
tune with it. Most rituals help us to do this, even if we
don’t realise it.
The Power of Nature
What exactly is this? We have briefly mentioned the elements. They are not merely concepts, they are dynamic forces which drive nature. They are therefore active in us. They drive the energy centres, or chakras, in our bodies:
Water base and sacral centres
Earth solar plexus
Air crown and brow
A synthesis of all four drives the throat centre.
It is how our soul manages these, which governs our life and health. It follows then, that as we gain a measure of mastery over ourselves, we can do so over the elements outside ourselves. We do this via our solar plexus.
Imagine a Web, with your solar plexus at the centre, and that you are able to control that web to some extent with your commands. This is the essence of wicca. You are part of the energy field of Nature. Everything that happens or grows, does so by the manipulation of this field by thought.
This process is carried out by myriad focal points of thought – elementals. Through ritual and spell, we learn to send forth our wishes, thereby creating elementals of earth and fire to do so. We thus tap into, and use the power of Nature.
So, what is the witch’s journey? Is it self development, or is it a means to fulfil our dreams? They amount to the same thing.
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t start out with some ideas of self gain or prestige. In order for ritual to have any meaningful power, we must develop a stronger connection to Mother Earth – via our solar plexus. Since the essence of Mother Earth is nurture, we can’t do this without strengthening this impulse within ourselves. We become less self orientated.
As we progress, the heart centre responds, and we unknowingly use the fire element more. Love and nurture grow, and give us inner strength.
There are those who seek spells and rituals to assert their will, without this development. Although they may seem knowledgeable or strong, they are known by a coldness or authoritarian nature. They lack love.
Who are they? We have mentioned that the Goddess, or Mother Earth, is the consciousness that enlivens this planet. We as humans, live within it.
In the pre-christian era, gods were central to most belief systems. Wicca shared its gods within the Germanic and Norse peoples. So did they exist, and do they still?
Within life are certain archetypal concepts, such as fertility, love, war etc. These are facets of the one universal consciousness. As such, they are real and alive. At some point in evolution, these concepts were appropriated by humanity, as it went through a stage of development. Each was enlivened by its own deva – a focus of thought within Mother Earth.
We could see this as a response to the human need at that time. This phase gradually gave way to various religions, emphasising the One god. Those devas ceased to exist as separate entities as the need receded, but the concepts remain.
So can we resurrect those gods today? We would be directing our attention to those concepts and developing them within ourselves. This is fine, but not the powerful experience of a god resonating within us.
Within wicca, that experience is better achieved by ritual.
These were local gods, residing at a particular place. They are the nature spirits found at most power places in the landscape, as described in Earth Mysteries. Their presence is nothing to do with human need. They are part of the fabric of the landscape, and are very much alive.
People were more able to contact them than we are now, but we have indicated the way in Earth Mysteries.
They have from time to time been focal points of attention. This is not to say that a given tree has god like status. Earth centred religion thrives in a forest. Large trees are centres of life force, so ritual involving them may be used for rejuvenation or enlivening.
Physics is the study of natural laws on the physical plane. We can learn about gravity, light, calories etc at school. Because we are largely unaware of life at the energy level and beyond, life seems a mystery in these realms.
The practice of magic is the use and manipulation of energy, by means of natural law. All of nature is driven by the energy field of the planet. This is still the physical plane, but is governed by thought. These laws are few and simple:-
Energy follows thought.
Because energy follows thought, it is governed by the consciousness of the planet – Mother Earth. But we can also manipulate it, if we know the means – by imposing our own thought on a given process. The means by which Mother Earth governs energy is the four elements.
Each of these is a dynamic quality, not a substance. To manipulate energy, to
achieve our aims, we have to clearly state our intent. We thus focus our
thought. We then choose to either cast a spell, or make a request.
Wicca is an active path - we don’t just sit in the audience. We may be happy just to dip our toe in the water now and then, but even this connects us to the living being in which we live.
At some point we may be drawn to go further. We need to tread with care. Whilst we are very unlikely to come to any harm, it is all too easy to be seduced by glamour. Glamour is a very real spiritual issue.
We must be clear on two points. Firstly, that all the paraphernalia are
merely props. The real instrument is you.
The true Master (either sex) makes no claims. Their rituals are simple. This exercise will help guide us to those we can learn from:
Sit quietly and observe your breath for a moment.
Be ready to move on when you feel your path needs to change. The appropriate rituals are there to help.
Having a box full of ritual objects can be fun. We just need to be sure that
we achieve our purpose while we enjoy them. If we make the candle and wand our
main tools, we are calling Mother Earth, and directing energy. This is our goal.
Using the Pentagram
This is a fantastic tool. There are two key points:
Firstly, that it creates a positive charge in the planetary energy field. This is more than just working with ideas and wishes.
Secondly, it utilises the four elements. These are real.
We can mark out the Pentagram on the ground, or simply draw it with our imagination. One point must face north. This is the one that creates the positive charge above the centre. The other points, moving sunwise, are earth, fire, water and air. These are the building forces of our world.
When we stand in it, the pentagram puts these elements at our command to some extent. We can use them in two ways.
To protect or bind, we invoke these forces as a shield. We must specifically name who or what we are protecting, and from what. To bind, we clearly describe the situation – but because we are working with nature, we can never bind anything which is contrary to its laws.
Nature evolves. Anything trying to impede this contravenes evolution, and is therefore the left hand path. The pentagram is completely safe because it can’t do this.
Secondly, we can use the pentagram for casting spells. Again, by clearly defining our ideas, we enlist nature to realise them.
We must understand that our results depend on our connection to mother Earth, and that we are the main tool. We can periodically empower this connection, and therefore our work, with a simple exercise:
Sit upright and centre your awareness in the perineum.
Using the Wand or Staff
The wand is a polarised stick, made of wood – nothing else. We could imagine it as a spring, impelling our will. We can use it thus..
Tap the wand thrice. This opens communication, just like knocking on a door. You are now ready to work,
Draw a circle in the air, with intent. This draws to that spot, those forces you need.
Point the wand to the ground and draw a circle around you. A spell cast within this space is enhanced.
Point in the direction that you want to send a spell or thought.
Circle three times over the cauldron or alter, to enhance a ritual.
These apparently simple tasks can develop in time into powerful techniques.
When we light a candle, we immediately announce ourselves. We are ready. A flame is a point of light, and when lit with intent, is a point of attraction. There are two uses:
When performing ritual, the flame is a beacon to those elementals we need.
The Four Directions
When we face North, we are facing the positive pole of the Earth’s energy field. We can lie in this direction, head north, from time to time, to align ourselves with it. This helps maintain clarity of purpose.
To understand the full meaning of this direction, face the north star. Centre your awareness in your breathing, and ask to know.
To know the East, repeat this, facing sunrise.
To know the South, repeat, facing the midday sun.
To know the West, repeat, facing sunset.
To be centred in the four directions, sit quietly facing north.
The Cone of Power
In effect, this is use of polarity. We live on a planet, polarised north-south. Without this dynamic element, life would not exist – all matter would be static. We can harness this phenomenon, to make things happen.
This is usually done by using the pentagram. We have seen how the north point is in effect, a positive pole above the others, resulting in a receptive pole beneath,. It is a cone, because energy fields are circular – the other points are on its perimeter.
How can this be sent? It is important to realise the difference between thought and force. We create a pentagram, and therefore a cone, by our will. All this is thought, i.e. the astral plane. In order for it to achieve its purpose, it must be grounded within the energy field of the planet. This is automatic if the sender is in the pentagram.
It is by this means that nature is influenced, and tiny elementals come into being to affect the task. The power of the cone depends on that of the senders.
Whatever the structure, a coven is a group working together within Wicca. We
should regard the tradition of thirteen women as a historical symbol. Any ritual
enacted by a group, is stronger than that enacted by just one of them. There are
Occasionally, we may find an individual using the others to achieve their own ends. This is a selfish act, however subtle.
Lastly, there are groups led by those styling themselves as witch, priestess, shaman and so on. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but it simply isn’t the tradition of Wicca. This is a twentieth century development. They can be a spur to learning, or an ego trip, or both.
Central to the coven, is ritual. It is the foremost way to learn. If you have any doubts, do this simple exercise. Sit alone and light a candle. Ask to be guided. You will know when to embrace the ritual, or step back.
Fire is central to life. It is the dynamic principle, through which change
occurs. We invoke this whenever we do a ritual around a fire.
The central point of a ritual, in time and space – we can use the altar in three ways:- Usually, as a table for ritual objects. A candle is essential to create a point of focus. But, an altar may be dedicated to a purpose or being. In this case it must be in a fixed position. Thirdly, it is the focal point of a church or circle. Its position within these is important. Because it is the focal point, it grounds any spell or ritual from the realm of thought, onto the physical plane. Only then can elementals be commanded.
Elementals are central to all magic. They are points of energy, created by thought, to carry out a task. They come, and disappear as needed. By a point of energy, we mean that a vortex, however tiny, is created in the earth’s energy field, capable of affecting nature in some way. Each is guided by thought to its task, but has no conscious will of its own.
As such, each is a being – it exists as a separate entity in the life of the planet. But crucially, because it has no will, it can only do what is was created to do. This is how the whole of nature functions.
To create elementals to carry out selfish deeds or malice, is black magic, or sorcery. In earlier times it was rife, hence the panoply of protective charms, amulets, herbs etc.
Most elementals exist in nature, to carry out its function. They are the fairies, dwarves and elves of folklore. To understand these, we must realise that these are elementals of a higher level of intelligence. They can be seen by some with a developed second sight, and a few children. But the pointy hats and medieval dress are of our own making.
Before we were intellectually developed or literate, people thought and understood pictorially. These beings were personified. Elementals can ‘wear’ these images with ease, and in fact need to present some sort of image if they are to be seen at all.
So, what is religion, and what is spirituality? We could say that spirituality is any search for a measure of understanding, of the meaning or mysteries of life. This in turn develops our consciousness.
Religion is a structured way to do this. As such, it can vary from a loose set of ideas and values, to a rigid system of rules – which can even become law of the land. Both have their strengths and drawbacks.
If we only have a loose set of ideas, we can pick and choose. We are then taking responsibility for our own path, and the company along the way, who may be an influence or inspiration.
A rigid religion is another matter. For many it is what they are brought up to. It may be difficult to shake off, or worn like a protective coat. It can be a spiritual straight jacket, tending to hypocrisy and intolerance, or a disciplined journey to wisdom and fulfilment.
So where does this leave wicca. It would be naive to assume that if christianity had never reached these shores, it would still be a cosy assortment of nice people, doing spells and rituals to their hearts’ content. Politics is a fact of life, and wicca has a dark side.
We now live in times when individuals have never been more free to express themselves and search. Wicca is evolving quickly – that is the way of things. What we present throughout, are core principles and methods. That is the meaning of Ancient Sanctuary.
Together or Alone?
There is no doubt that working in a group can produce a stronger force for good than working alone. This raises a few questions:
Is a particular group working along lines that I wish to follow?
Would this group help my self-development?
I am alone. How do I find a relevant group?
As soon as we decide to follow wicca, we are connected to a source of understanding and help. It is the consciousness of Mother Earth. A simple ritual will answer these questions:
Light a candle and centre your mind in your solar plexus.
We may need to repeat this way of enquiry from time to time. What is right for us today will inevitably move on and change!
Working in a Ritual Space
However we choose to work, creating a ritual space is essential. This may be permanent, or created just for the job in hand. The effect is twofold; not only does it announce our arrival, but our astral body is further connected to the planet by resonance.
This means that our request will, without question, be acknowledged. An enquiry simply draws an answer, just as looking in a mirror produces a reflection. We have only to listen.
A ritual designed to exercise our will has the opposite effect. It is projected into the astral plane with a positive charge. It doesn’t attract a reply, it causes change. The degree to which it can do this depends on the force with which it is sent. This in turn depends on the connection of the group or individual to wicca, and the intensity of the ritual space.
It is the ritual performed within that space that causes intensity. We can see from this therefore, that our personal journey to know Mother Earth (and thereby ourselves) is half the equation, and the ritual is the other. Together they become what we call power.
Power is real. It is the ability to impose our will on life. We can make a few observations:
Spells which are aimed at helping and healing, are generally in accord with the process of life, so they are riding an existing impulse. They therefore have power.
Spells cast for selfish reasons don’t do this. In fact, any cast for malice or greed, work against the flow of life. They therefore need more power to have any effect. This is a dangerous game.
Love is a force equal to Will. It does not empower a ritual that is selfish, however subtle. However, a healing ritual may be empowered – if indeed healing is possible (which isn’t always the case).
Regardless of the ritual, power and results increase as we progress on a spiritual path. But this must manifest in our daily life, rather than stay in the realm of theory.
Working within Wicca
We have looked at the basic principles involved, to coerce elementals to do our bidding. But the degree to which we can achieve our aims ever depends on our personal power. This in turn depends on our connection to the Great Spirit.
This is an ongoing process – it is indeed a spiritual journey. It is true that elementals can be commanded without this spiritual connection, but as we would not be working in accord with nature, inner peace would be ever further out of reach. Indeed, the prime motivation for working with Wicca, is to achieve personal growth.
Our path can be surer, and less tedious, if we incorporate these principles
into our work:
Bringing it together
Why would we practice Wicca? It is a personal quest – to know nature, and thence beyond. On the surface, it is likely we are first drawn by the idea of rituals, spells and mystery. It is where these lead us that matters.
We can consider three aspects.
Finally, we can bring joy into our lives, by connecting ever deeper with Nature.
There is much speculation at the moment, as to the true inheritance of wicca, and what is or isn’t original. Does this indeed matter? As we have pointed out, there are some core ingredients which always have been and always will be - otherwise it would not be wicca at all. It is also clear that a lot of what is claimed as age old tradition, is no such thing . It has been added by some colourful characters along the way.
In any field of human endeavour there will always be purists, maintaining
what they see as the essence, and there will always be innovators. If the
purists prevail, we may end up with stifling dogma. If the innovators prevail,
there can be empty theatre.
The Power of Wicca
Wicca is a means by which we can to some degree, utilise the forces of nature to our own ends. Practices that seek to do this by imposition of personal will, are not wicca. This is sorcery.
The essence of wicca is to know Mother Earth – the guiding intelligence of nature. Therefore, the rituals which really produce results, are those given by this being - in response to a genuine request by the witch. Since they are provided by the very intelligence which governs the forces of nature, they are the best.
As we have already emphasised, it is the closeness of contact with Mother Earth, that yields better results. A group of like minded people, working with the flow of nature, really can protect the landscape of this land we love. They really can create a focus for new endeavours, such as farms, social groups, or buildings.
So can we appropriate this power for personal use? The answer is Yes – with care. We can use ritual to attract what we want, unless it harms or deprives. Beyond this point is selfishness, and the help is no longer available. It would be well to point out that rituals which emphasise the use of will, lack love – which is the power of Mother Earth.
Lastly, we can generate more power for our rituals by using fire. Try it and see !
Wicca is an earth centred practice. As such, it is one of the many voices crying out against the wholesale destruction of nature, driven by overpopulation. It is not scientific, and will never have the clout of science-driven protest. However, it does have within it the means to protect the environment and nurture crops. Such aims are high indeed, and cannot be substantiated by anything other than results.
Indeed, such results can then demonstrate the reality of white magic, but we would be naive to think we can just chant a few spells and achieve spectacular results. The following guidelines should be considered.
Patience is difficult, but essential. To truly master any craft takes half a lifetime. If you really feel ready to try this work, do ritual to attract like minds with whom to work. Be very mindful of what you say publicly. It may come back to bite you. As ever, greater contact with nature speeds progress.
Not so many of us will harbour such ideals. Most of us want to learn, practice, and have fun. That is in itself an ideal to cherish. So be it.
Wyrd is the Anglo Saxon word for the realm beyond every day events. This is the realm of nature sprits, the astral plane, and magic. It was very much part of their world.
So far, we have been looking at wicca, as a means of understanding these realms, and working in them. Wicca was a loose and fluid religion, serving a tribal population, of various dialects, who depended on nature for their very survival. So it is impossible to pigeon hole, but we have outlined the core working methods. It is refreshingly free of dogma, because it deals with a few basic principles, which simply exist in nature. They don’t need to be enshrined in rules or texts.
But many dealt with wyrd, without following what we now know as wicca. They are still found the world over, in various guises.
Cunning Women and Men
Usually psychic, and working alone, they dealt in country magic. They varied
from simple people, who practiced one particular craft such as wart charming, to
clever characters who could heal or retrieve lost goods. They worked their magic
in any of three ways:
As we delve into our collective past for clues as to what wicca really was and is, we are rewarded with very little. After all, this was a tradition for illiterate people. Those who subsequently tried to record traditions, that they saw were fading fast, have done us a great service. But we must bear in mind that they were usually the educated middle class. Their mindset was different, so they saw, rather than knew. Added to this was a great deal of exaggeration and theatre – which certainly got the ball rolling again.
There has been for example, quite an interest in horse whisperers, and the Toadmen. It would be worth while taking a look at this phenomenon from another perspective, as it is a good example of sympathetic magic.
Not all whisperers were Toadmen. Most followed an oral tradition, and some formed societies. Those using a toad did not, because this is a mildly shamanic practice, which does not operate in this way. The essence of the craft was to catch and dismember a toad. A thighbone was kept, and the rest cast in a pool or stream. The bone was worn on the person, in order to whisper to a horse. We must bear in mind that horses were an essential part of life, so this was no idle exercise.
All creatures have a signature note to which they respond. These relate to planets and astrological signs, as does all life. The toad and horse relate to the same note ! In this case the toad is sacrificed to a purpose. This may seem harsh, but they are not individuals as we are, they are part of the overall life form of Toad.
From the overall view of Nature, it is normal. Animals don’t suffer in the same
way as we do, they are born to feed another, and so on. To the toad it is no
different to ending up in the jaws of a stoat. We could look at worms, and see
that one of their functions in nature is to feed Robins. They in turn feed
Sparrow hawks. Ultimately nature feeds itself, in an ongoing cycle.
Humans relate to the Mother Earth via their lower three centres. The solar plexus responds like a musical chord of many notes. These are also the notes that many creatures operate on. Since people are all different, we have various notes in ourselves, which are stronger or weaker than other people’s. This explains why we may be drawn to cats, dogs or any other life form, but not to another. It further shows how we may relate to a Familiar, and why it may even choose us.
So to be a horse whisperer, one would need to be responsive to horses. By wearing a toad bone, he is already connected to the horse, within the consciousness of Mother Earth, and can request that the horse do his bidding. The animal understands the impulse in simple terms, from its own subconscious – which is in fact, part of the consciousness of Mother Earth.
What can we gain from this? Firstly, if we are drawn to work with animals or
plants, we must learn to sit quietly, and call the right one.
This is the craft of using an object to focus the magician’s will. It
includes the talisman, fetish, genie and tree ribbons.
But a simple ritual will guarantee success, to a point: Take the object and walk around it, in a sunwise circle three times. Ask Mother Earth to empower it, then ask for what you hope to achieve. It must then be placed where needed, or worn if the charm is protective.
A Fetish is a talisman, made as an effigy of a person or being. That of a person
was known as a poppet, and has been subject of much abuse. (Of course, they
could hardly enlist Mother Earth to help). The Corn Dolly and Scarecrow can
similarly be empowered as above.
Ribbons on trees capture a wish. Originally tied at wells, they are at the doorway to Mother Earth.
All of these rely on resonance initiated by the will or desire, and set in place. They sound out their note within Mother Earth, and hopefully attract a response. The extent to which this may happen is the measure of the magician’s power.
This is the degree to which we can achieve our will, or direct the will of spirit. The latter is when we identify with a spiritual cause, and so become an ally. We are then channelling something with its own momentum.
There are two ways to enhance our power. One is to enlist the help of Mother Earth, by ritual or request, and be open to the paths which may become apparent. The other is to engage in various techniques or rituals, to empower the will. This path can lack love, and is less likely to lead to fulfilment.
We can ensure our progress, by renewing our connection to Mother Earth from time
Ask Mother Earth to connect you.
Ask that your progress be nurtured. Help is always there.
These mostly dealt with plant lore. Their expertise may have grown over
several generations, and their results impressive.
Herbs used at this level have emotional, as well as physical benefits, and can
be used by the healer herself, to gain empathy and insight.
Also known as warlocks, or usually simply as witches, they were as often as not, also witch doctors. But some practiced sorcery or other magical arts, such as scrying or fortune telling.
A wizard is one who has learned to manipulate energy. They may use their plants, animal allies, or spells to this end. Their choice is simple – to use their skills for the benefit of others, or not.
To use them for personal gain or malice, is sorcery. They could hire their services as mercenaries to gullible or needy customers. This is still common practice in some parts of the world.
Alchemy is a fascinating territory with one foot in wyrd, and the other in science. It was the forerunner of chemistry, yet deals with pure spirit. It arrived in Britain around the fourteenth century, and flourished two hundred years or so until the Age of Reason gradually dawned – and awareness of wyrd started to wane.
Alchemy is complex and requires a laboratory. It was therefore the province of a privileged few with money and education. They have given rise to the archetypal image of the wizard in his robes, tending his furnace and retorts. His world was rooted in wyrd, yet he looked beyond.
Einstein realised that when you take science far enough, you find God. Eventually the circle is complete, for nature can’t sustain us much longer, unless we work with it. We are then back in Wyrd !
Wizards and Crones
These are people who have gained certain access to wyrd. They may have already been psychically gifted, but they must have worked conscientiously to function within wyrd at will. We can distinguish between women and men at this level, as their paths are necessarily different.
Although they may share much in method and experience, men will inevitably seek to manipulate energy by some means or another. A crone on the other hand, has gone through a rite of passage into Mother Earth. This can only happen after menopause, due to a shift in the sacral chakra. She can then develop resonance with this being, that is not heretofore possible.
A crone can resonate with that part of Mother Earth which nurtures mankind, and become part of that nurturing process. She therefore provides the sustenance needed by an individual or group, at any one time. This may be spiritual guidance or practical information.
Sorcery is a very real part of wyrd. It is an outcome of the darker side of the human mind, in a similar way that the internet has become a force for both good and bad. Without delving into its workings, we could make two basic observations.
Firstly as already noted, it is a product of the individual will. In itself there is nothing wrong with this. However, unless tempered with love and compassion, the will is a loose cannon. We may be subtly selfish in our dealings, and so impede our progress.
Secondly, magic without love is not the way of wyrd. Nature sustains all – not one at the expense of the rest. (This is not the same as survival of the fittest, which is still for the benefit of the species).
So can we re-establish our contact with wyrd, and is there any point in doing so? To most people that would be weird ! But unless some of us do, and really fight for nature, the outlook is bleak. We have a few options:
Practice with the pentagram until we get tangible results. We can then truly help nature on a local level, because we will already be working within it.
Protect the landscape. We have indicated how in Green Man, but we may also seek to influence planning decisions, landowners etc by such means. We can’t command that they do our will, but if our rituals or spells are aimed at reinforcing what nature itself requires, we can have a real input.
Work in groups. If we are alone, a simple ritual, repeated occasionally with pure motive, will attract like minded allies. Wyrd then becomes a reality.
This fascinating area has attracted many, but the scope for delusion is wide. Why is this? Lets be clear. We can never see what will happen, as an absolute fact. We see probability. We relate to Mother Earth via our solar plexus, which is also the seat of our own desires. We also empathise with others by this centre.
It is the compatibilities within the total consciousness, we are seeking. It is these which result in events. We must distinguish them, from a web of private desires and motives of ours, and others. This is hardly straight forward.
But if we prepare ourselves well, and are patient, we can truly walk within wyrd, and start to scry. It should not be difficult to devise our own ritual to do so. We must clearly state our goal, work with a candle, and invoke Mother Earth.
We may choose the major tools of astrology or tarot, and learn much from them. We may be drawn to the less obvious such as scrying in water, or augury, which draw us deeper into wyrd. Lastly, there is much to be gained from the pendulum – it is the best way to begin.
Being aware of, and adjusting to the four seasons, is basic to being aware of wyrd. It is the most important thing we can do. The most obvious way is to have a garden, but not all of us can. The most powerful way is to mark the four fire festivals – explained in Earth Mysteries. These are truly the beginning of each season.
Halloween is the most powerful of all, when we take the plunge into winter – culminating at solstice. That we may now celebrate this as Christmas matters little. It is the coming together that counts. We may read books, do spells and so on, but the most real thing we can ever do to know wyrd, is to mark these four times.
Firstly, get out into nature, on or just after the actual day. A park will do, a wild place is best. Secondly, fire. A bowl of candles is enough, but if we can take them out with us, so much the better. Of course, a real fire is best. A simple ritual would be to circle the fire three times. Face the direction of the coming season, and ask to connect to it.
These have been introduced in Earth Mysteries. They are so integral to life, that nature would not exist without them. Yet most people now consider them fantasy. Every major culture throughout history gives them their due, but we harbour a massive blind spot because science doesn’t reach their realm.
Most of us will never see them, but we can experience them directly with a simple exercise: Light a candle and gaze into it for a moment. Ask to know the world of nature spirits. Repeat a few times. While this won’t cause them to suddenly appear, you will become subtly aware of their effect – at the very least.
The Modern World
Of course, wyrd is as real as it’s always been, but we have reached a point where we have largely forgotten it, and lost all respect. This is a great loss – its like the mother we never knew. Throughout Ancient Sanctuary we have given doorways and hints to know and enjoy the reality of wyrd. Indeed, this site is its gift.
We know that most people will never have any inclination towards wyrd, and will carry on devastating the planet regardless. We may not be able to prevent this, but herein lie some powerful tools of protection, which will reward those who diligently use them.