Where does this term come from, and why is it taboo and evil in some circles? Let’s examine the reasons.
A Brief History of the Craft
Some terms, symbols, or names have a negative connotation. Often this negative image or reputation is not an accident but intentional. It results from branding by those in charge of the culture. If you know your magic and the meaning of the terms, then you open doors that the culture doesn’t want you to know.
A term gets a negative reputation for several reasons. It could be because of actions, people, or other things we associate with the word. For instance, the swastika has a negative worldwide image. But this symbol was used by Hinduism long before Germany adopted it in World War II. Today, many people associate this term with a movie named “The Craft” (1). This film takes some liberties to sensationalize the process.
Everything depends on who is in charge of the cultural narrative. Whoever programs and controls the cultural narrative controls the culture. They program the values and beliefs, which often include bias and prejudice. So, who is really in charge? Is it social media? No. it is organized religion that programs the values and beliefs of the culture. Social media is just another one of its tools.
A Truth-Seekers View of Magic
Most people associate the term with Witches and Wicca. However, the elements of craftwork are universal principles. When you break it down, it’s merely the use of ritual combined with emotion, intent, and meaning. It’s a formula that weaves its way through the alchemy of magic.
The practical application of meditation can open doors to higher states of consciousness, which is a good reason to understand the terms used for magic. We find magical processes in cultures around the world. And this knowledge is still available if we know where to look. There are several tools for spiritual exploration that alter awareness. The key is not just learning about them but practicing them.
“The craft is the artful application of intention through ritual. Our intention is like a muscle. You develop intention through the practice of meaningful rituals. Intention infused with personal meaning and emotion creates a life-changing force — magic.” — Guru Tua
Craftwork is the practice of directing the creative force within us. It requires one to summon and align with internal and external energies. Some believe this is the source of what many ancient authors call Hermetics, which is supposed to contain the essence of esoteric magic.
Many people feel attracted to the unknown and want to seek answers. Unfortunately, many people think Western organized religion has the answers. Over 3 billion people meet every week to involve themselves in studying these religions. And they support them financially. Is this a counterfeit for real spiritual exploration?
The Influence of Western Religion
After the Roman army had conquered the world, they needed a more cost-effective way to continue reaping the harvest. It is expensive to keep an army deployed. However, they saw how religious cults brought in their taxes voluntarily. No army was necessary. So, more profits with less effort.
They created a religion they could scale and transport throughout the world. The goal was to keep the current customer base and while standardizing. This way, they could use one format across the region. The result is the Universal Religion, Catholicism. It is the first successful large-scale rebranding effort.
This rebranding effort absorbed the mythology from Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Rome. They chose doctrine, rituals, and symbols to maintain the local cash flow. Then they combined the most popular into their new creation.
They did not care about the meaning of the rituals. It was a business decision to assimilate all of the mystery religions of the Mediterranean. This enabled Roman to occupy and control the region without the expense of keeping an army in the field.
So, they lost the original meaning of the ancient pagan systems in favor of marketing concerns. But this enabled them to build the most profitable state on Earth. The Roman Empire built the richest City State, the Vatican. After rebranding this new Universal Religion (Catholicism), they demonized the source. Thus it isn’t something they want to make common knowledge. However, they document it for internal use.
“Symbolism in a greater or lesser degree is essential to every kind of external worship, and we need not shrink from the conclusion that in the matter of baptisms and washings, of genuflection’s and other acts of reverence, of lights and sweet-smelling incense, of flowers and white vestitures, of spiritual unction’s and the imposing of hands, of sacrifice and the rite of the Communion banquet, the Church has borrowed without hesitation from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and to all nations. In such matters as these, Christianity claims no monopoly or originality. ― The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907)
Demonizing the Competition
If you want to make something socially unacceptable, you associate it with something negative. Nothing is more unacceptable than something evil. If you control the cultural narrative, you can make this happen. The Abrahamic religions control much of this programming. These are the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (2).
To demonize someone or something is to associate them with evil. But the origin of this term is not well known. Going back to ancient history, we find the Assyrians were at war with India in 810 BCE (3). In the Hindu religion, the deities are the bright lights of the stars and planets in the Heavens, called the “Devas.” The Assyrians sought to dehumanize their foe.
So, the Hindu Devas became the Devils, evil Gods for the Assyrians. Slandering the Hindu Deity became part of Persian mythology. Persian mythology became a cornerstone concept of Western theology. The concept of a devil would not be in Western theology if it were not for the Assyrian’s hatred of the Hindus.
The attempt to demonize is born out of religious prejudice. It’s a ploy to disparage the practice of anything that threatens the cash flow. So, Western organized religion associates it with Witchcraft, and it is as simple as that. They demonize anything that doesn’t come from them. It doesn’t matter if they use the same process by a different name. The history of the craft shows the marks of this prejudice. Knowledge of this history helps you to know your magic and its potential.
In the 1800s, many researchers like Kersey Graves (4) published books exposing Western religion. He believed bringing this knowledge to the public would be the end of Western Organized Religion. But he underestimated the power of religious indoctrination. Facts don’t matter.
Perhaps knowledge of Hermetics was not available to those designing the Abrahamic religions. Or did they get this knowledge but keep it secret for top leadership positions? Either way, they didn’t want others to use it. So, they demonized anyone else from using it. They primarily targeted people with the natural abilities of plants and medicine. These were the domain of the Shaman and Witches. So, they were lumped together as unacceptable and evil. Then they could appropriate their rituals and symbols without any competition.
The Connection Between Ritual and Intention
There is an essential connection between ritual and intention; when you combine them, it makes rituals an effective and powerful force. Your own experience will prove that a personal ceremony is better than following another’s pattern. The rites and rituals you design will be more powerful and effective than those created by others. When you create a ritual, you are infusing it with the power of your intention and meaning. No one else can do this for you.
Create your own rituals. Rituals created by others are a waste of time and sometimes dangerous. This is because unless you create the ritual, you don’t know the true meaning and intentions behind it. You can be told what someone else’s ritual means, but you don’t really know. — Guru Tua
Developing Personal Rituals
We all have goals and aspirations. Reaching these goals takes hard work. The path to these goals requires several effective personal habits. Habits are rituals that have reached enough critical mass to manifest.
The systematic practice of ritual and intention creates a positive mindset, and it’s essential for reaching any goal. Here are four crucial points about developing your rituals.
For example, visualization is a powerful tool to focus on intent. Create and use a vision board. It’s a simple but effective tool. You place pictures of the ultimate goals you want to achieve on a bulletin board. You hang this board somewhere you will see it, like your office or hallway. Some people set a reminder to move it to a new place every month. This way, you see it often and reinforce your goal.
Creating rituals of your own design is the key. You will get to know your magic on an intimate level. You will learn your strengths and weaknesses.
Develop your own rites, rituals, and traditions. If you are starting your magic practice, learn the basic patterns others use, but don’t copy. Don’t stay with a predetermined pattern. Personal rituals are a pathway to cultivating the positive things you want in your life. Remember, there is power in the structure of the old ways. Start with basic patterns and then personalize them.
2) Partner with Like-Minded People
Unlike institutionalized rituals, personal rituals can change with your growth. However, there is power in collaboration. You need not create a coven or secret society. Just meet and share ideas. You’ll learn a lot from others, even though you are doing your own thing.
You are the designer with ultimate control. What works today may not work tomorrow. Similarly, what works for someone else may not work for you. Feel free to modify and experiment. Your rituals may consist of any pattern of thought or movement, or both.
Experiment using sound, implements, or objects to facilitate your intention’s focus. The time the ritual takes is not as important as your focus. Experiment with different drums and music. Allow your practice to grow. For instance, learn how to create and use circles in your rituals.
4) Practice with Enthusiasm
The emotional context and velocity you impart into your ritual is the fuel to power your intention. Whenever possible, inject your practice with the positive, life-affirming power of love and compassion. Also, don’t forget to use a spiritual journal or book of shadows to record your daily spiritual practice, experience, and evolving rituals.
Practicing any ritual without the true knowledge of its meaning can be dangerous. If someone else creates the ritual, you don’t know the original intent and purpose. Therefore, we do not recommend practicing institutionalized patterns. You’ll find they hinder the effectiveness of your own.
Here’s the problem. All Western religions use rituals and symbolism developed by other cultures. They infuse them with superficial meaning but don’t understand the real essence. That’s why it’s prudent to avoid situations where these are in use.
Stand up to the cultural narrative. Don’t accept the dying-God cultural mythology. Otherwise, you substitute compliance and community for independence and personal success.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that associates itself with The Craft. It uses a formalized ritual to emphasize memorizing long passages of text. The primary purpose is to create a patriarchal community (5). They use membership as a means of cultural favoritism. Does it hold the ancient knowledge of Heremtics? Some believe this is so because its members include the most influential. Others see it as a pyramid scheme.
We hope this brief history of the craft is food for thought. If you still think this term is evil, don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault. It’s a part of self-hypnosis and group hypnosis programming. However, with the proper tools, you can change your programming.
Now that you know the facts, you can do your part to bridge the gap. Educate others on the difference between a personal ritual and those of institutions. You can start by doing independent research. Use sources outside the paradigm. Break the cycle of bias and prejudice. Speak up for those who don’t ascribe your paradigm.
Take time to develop your own rituals. By all means, call upon the power of your ancestors. Ask for the ancient elemental forces of earth, wind, water, and air to guide you. Let your intuition find your implements for your rituals, altars for things, and places to focus your emotion and intention.
Create a vision board with pictures that symbolize the goals of your life. Find teachers to provide you with tools for expanding your awareness and opening the doors to higher states of consciousness. We can help you with this last one.
So, the bottom line. The history of the craft shows all ritualistic magic operates using the same principles. Without a doubt, the real meaning and intention of ritual come from the ritual’s originator. Overlaying meaning and intent on top of symbolism doesn’t change the original purpose. It merely dilutes the effectiveness of your practice.
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(1) The Craft, Film, Wikipedia
(2) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(4) Kersey Graves, Wikipedia
(5) Patriarchal Community, Wikipedia
(6) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia