The dominant cultural narrative promotes inaccurate information about Paganism and Witchcraft. It demonizes Witches and Wiccans along with terms like Magik or Magick. Learn the truth behind this effort of misinformation.
Witchcraft and Paganism
We associate many terms with mystical processes under the general term magic. Many of the terms related to magic are considered harmful because of our cultural programming. This automatic judgment is not a mistake; it’s a programmed reaction.
Demonizing processes and people make them socially unacceptable. It amounts to an admission that there must be some substance to these processes. Otherwise, why would people attempt to demonize them? Often you will find there isn’t a difference between these practices and what is acceptable in mainstream religion.
To make things more confusing, the people who use these processes create their terminology. People are curious about Magik with a K? What exactly is The Craft? These are all exciting terms that our culture has intentionally skewed. All these topics and words intermingle. So, we can start almost anywhere. Let’s begin with Witchcraft and Paganism.
Any belief system outside of mainstream Christianity they consider Pagan. Western organized religion demonizes Paganism. In reality, all the beliefs and practices come from these systems. The Abrahamic religions are all a rebranding of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and Persia’s earlier mystery religions. There is nothing new in these systems; everything is a repackaging of what they demonize as paganism. The leading Christian authority admits to “having no originality” concerning their system of doctrine.
“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)
We are all familiar with the term Magic. Some things in life simply magical, like falling in love. Magic can also involve directing energy to achieve some purpose. For example, “The Craft” is an example of using your intention with a goal.
Most people associate the term, The Craft, with Witches and Wicca. However, the elements used in The Craft are nearly universal to all rituals. When you break it down, The Craft is simply ritual combined with intent.
Many people believe personal rituals are more potent than those created by others. When you create a ceremony or rite, you infuse them with the power of your intention, emotion, and meaning. So, the craft is a powerful vehicle for ceremonies. “The craft” is simply the application of these three elements; intention, emotion, and meaning.
“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
“The Craft” is a term linked with Freemasonry. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization. It uses a formalized ritual emphasizing memorizing long passages of text. The primary purpose is to create a patriarchal community. They use membership as a means of cultural favoritism.
Observing someone this type of process is something most would identify with as spellcasting. It conjures the image of Witches mixing potions, but it’s much more than this. The form and substance are what others call Ritualistic Prayer. Religions from Buddhism to Catholicism use ritualistic prayer in ceremonies and masses. It’s virtually the same whether you evoke a higher power for healing or material wealth. It’s the same for charging or cleansing a crystal. The exact process is at work when altering a situation or object’s vibrations. Spellcasting uses the same process for using a candle or mirror to enter a trance state.
Magic relies on the personal power of the practitioner. The process may use a variety of objects, natural or metaphysical. However, it is the practitioner who provides energy for the working. Witches often use a “Book of Shadows” to record and pass along these processes and the outcomes. Many other religions and philosophies use a journal. We refer to this as a spiritual journal. Whatever you call it, it is a valuable tool.
International Scope of The Craft
The Craft includes using “words of power” like Mantras and Sutras. Mantras and Sutras are sound or word formulas associated with Indian traditions. We also find formulas or words of power in the Abrahamic sects. It’s an essential component of Kabbalah and the “sacred name sects” of Christianity. We’ll look at this later on under Magik. The main point here that the processes associated with The Craft are universal and international in scope.
“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 create a life-changing force – magic.” — Guru Tua
Bottom line. The Craft is a process involving formulas to achieve a purpose. The formula includes intent, emotion, meaning, sound (spoken or non-verbalized words or phrases). So what exactly is Magik? It is a form of “The Craft.”
Witchcraft And Witches
Some Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccan. A Witch is someone who practices what they call Witchcraft. A Witch is someone who respects the earth. They follow the Turning of the Wheel (celebrating the movements of the Sun (Sabbats), “turning of the Moons” (Esbats).
They may also follow specific phases of the moon, eclipses, and other feast days). Some use a branch of the Witch’s art, such as herbal medicine or divination. That’s it. That’s a Witch. Following the seasons, using natural remedies and walking in harmony with nature and other people. Many cultures trace their lineage to 13-month calendars based on the moon’s cycles, rather than the Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1582.
People often use Witchcraft and Paganism interchangeably. This connection originates in the fourth century. Christians use this term to identify those who practiced polytheism. Although, technically, Christianity is also polytheistic. It has the trinity of good gods, plus the bad god satan. Christianity demonized all other religions as Pagan, including Judaism, Islam, and other later Christian offshoots of the Protestant Church.
It was a way of segregating those they did not desire. It entitled the Catholic Church to ostracize at a minimum. It often led to the confiscation of property and public torture and execution. The Church does not like competition. The truth about the origins of witchcraft and paganism is an embarrassment to the Church. They stole all of their doctrines, practices, and rituals from these earlier traditions.
If you enjoy nature and find peace in the Earth’s natural splendor, you have a lot in common with Witches and Paganism. Paganism and Animism are probably the oldest belief systems. Here, the belief in animals and nature became personified. These became the ancient gods‘ anthropomorphic entities, humans with animal characteristics.
Someone who practices Wicca, known as a Wiccan, follows a code of ethics known as the Rede. The central tenets of the Rede are the Threefold Law or the Law of Returns:
1) What you do will return three-fold.
2) An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.
They expand this to include the four-step rule of “To Will, To Know, To Dare, and To Be Silent.” These rules apply to the practice of the “Craft.” The Craft embodies the rituals whereby the Wiccan appeals to the Universe for the desired positive outcome. Many Witches have adapted these elements into their practices. Some Wiccans also worship a higher power which may include male/female deities. Their rituals often honor and harmonize feminine and masculine attributes. Many refer to the Earth as a feminine entity. We are all familiar with the term, mother Earth.
What is Magik or Magick?
Magic with a “K” Magick is ritualistic magic and ceremonial magic. We know it by other terms such as Magick or High Magick. Magic with a K comes from the practice we know as Witchcraft and “the Craft.” Here, they perform magic according to specific ordinances to produce the most beneficial outcome.
The use of a circle is one of the practices that transcends tradition. Additionally, many different cultures perform ceremonies to celebrate the seasons, the sun’s cycles, and the moon. Examples of paradigms that practice this include Catholicism and Free-Masonry.
What is Magik in other systems? The Japanese Tea Ceremony is an example of ceremonial Magick. They use choreographed movements making and serving tea. The intention here is to develop “presence.” The ritual implements are ceremonial objects often charged with various types of energy.
For example, Judaism uses several ritualistic objects. They have many sacred things like the Torah Scroll and the Tzitzit. Tzetze are Tassels that attach to the tallit and tallit katan. It is like the magical underwear known as the Temple Garment, which you find in Mormonism.
Magical Mystical Appropriation
Depending upon the sect, it could be “calling on the name.” Or, it might also include ceremonial cleansing “baptism” by water. This mystical formula or spell enables you to get the desired object.
We find this process in the Sacred Name Sects of Christianity. They claim knowledge of the correct pronunciation of the name of God. Knowing this, they believe, gives them the power to summon God. Some sects use the Tetragrammaton (the Hebrew reference for God), while others say it applies to the Greek name of Jesus—Isous.
“Sacred name” or sacred word sects are concerned with the pronunciation of words. Mystical mental appropriation and faith enable them to say the “sacred name” correctly. It is the formula for salvation in the Abrahamic paradigm. This method has striking similarities to the practice of ceremonial magic and Hebrew Kabbalah, and earlier Pagan rites.
The main point here by knowing the name, they get a membership in a “special club!” Now, they alone can “call on the name of the Lord.” They believe this gives them an entry ticket to an Afterlife in Heaven while everyone else goes to Hell. That’s because God loves everyone so much he created Hell for those who can’t pronounce the sacred name. These examples are identical to Witchcraft’s processes and other so-called pagan practices. The dominant cultural narrative is simply trying to rebrand these practices as their own.
Ritual or Magical Procedures
Many people are drawn to rituals because we are creatures of habit. Ancient rites are mysterious, and some have roots back before recorded history. It doesn’t matter to what belief system you ascribe. You can be an Atheist, Theist, Diest and still have an interest in or engage in habits associated with magic. The concept of magic permeates our lives—for instance, a rabbit’s foot on a key chain. If you take the time to study other traditions, you will find several similarities.
Witchcraft has ties to traditions that pre-date written history. The people who practice witchcraft have much in common with our indigenous cultures. You can see the practices of witchcraft mirroring techniques from ancient Shamanic cultures. Witches individualize their Craftwork much like the ancient traditions of the Crone.
It’s also important to realize we cast a spiritual shadow wherever we do and whatever we do. Make sure your life is full of meaningful actions, meaningful rituals. Don’t let your life become habitual patterns without meaning.
The Shamanic Journey is likely the first form of magic. It is an ancient process for reaching an altered state of consciousness. This form of consciousness exploration is prolific. You find it in almost every ancient culture. The ancient practitioners, the Shaman, are the original magical athletes of the spirit world.
Finally, any discussion on magic must include superstition. Many people believe Magic is nothing more than superstition. The rabbit’s foot mentioned above is an example of a good luck omen. Not that it was good luck for the poor rabbit. This “lucky charm” is found in North American folklore. We can trace it to African-American folk spirituality known as Voodoo. Superstition means the belief in anything irrational. If that is the case, then most religions would be superstitious.
But, science tells us that many things that seem irrational are sometimes proven to be true. Western religious leaders often discounted the existence of higher states of consciousness. Then scientists hooked up people meditating to an Electroencephalography (EEG) and discovered unique ranges of physiological changes in brainwave patterns and breathing. These characteristics were different from waking, dreaming, or sleeping.
A Little Logic Goes a Long Way
The science of logical reasoning helps us to understand that you can provide evidence to prove something doesn’t exist. You can’t prove gods don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean they do. You can’t disprove that Apolo, Zeus, Mythra, Dyonisys, or any other god doesn’t exist. But, because there is no proof that they don’t exist doesn’t mean they do. Similarly, anecdotal evidence does not prove the existence of gods.
Does Odin Exist?
Here’s an example of how this argument works. First, no ice-giants exist. Odin promised to wipe out the ice giants. So, since there are no ice-giants, this is proof of Odin’s existence. Second, Odin is prolific in early paganism dating back through oral traditions in Germanic mythology. Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn). It’s this kind of evidence of anecdotal stories which are prevalent in early forms of paganism. Old English calls Odin, Wóden and shows up in Old Saxon as Wōden. He’s in stories from Germany as Wuotan or Wodan. With so much evidence from so many cultures, it’s evident that Odin exists. Maybe not.
The answer, no, you’re mistaken; these legends aren’t evidence of the existence of Odin. Sorry, but the absence of imaginary creatures does not represent evidence they ever existed. The lack of proof is not proof of absence. And, telling stories, no matter their age, does not suffice as proof for the existence of Odin. These points apply to all gods, not just Odin.
One of the best tools to overcome boundaries is through logic. Enhancing your critical thinking capabilities will help you break cultural programming.
Now, if someone asks what Magick with a K is, you’ll know it’s all types of magic that deal with ceremonial magic. You understand this is similar to The Craft, just a different name. Now you know that those in charge of the cultural narrative use misinformation to hide the truth.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia