Artemesian Tradition of Witchcraft
Article ID: 16027
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Kalisha [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 2nd. 2017
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Unlike most Craft/Wiccan traditions, Artemesian has 13 initiations passages. They are:
- Grove Dedication, which is based on a year and a day study with no guarantee of initiation (a kind of Witchcraft 101) , Participation in the 8 Sabbaths is required to move forward.
- 1st Degree, which requires the completion of the 13 Moon Mystery Rituals.
- 2nd Degree, which requires completion of group dynamics training.
- The Elemental Kingdoms which is designed to cover 1 year but can take some longer to complete: Air Grade, Fire Grade, Water, Grade, Earth Grade.
- 3rd Degree that is made up of 5 separate Solar Passages taking the course of 1 year to complete.
We use the materials of Robert Graves (many think of him as debunked, but on closer examination he got more right than wrong.) , Joseph Campbell, Karl Kerenyi, Carl Jung, and the Carmina Gadelica as translated by Alexander Carmichael. Special note: Morgan McFarland used Graves and the Carmina Gadelica as the foundation for her Dianic tradition.
In Dallas, Texas, around 1974, a small group of twenty somethings came together to find the Goddess. For some time they fumbled around trying to create something that blended with the lore and mythologies they found. Then, one day in 1976, one of them ventured into the Incense, Herb and Candle Shop on East Grand Street (in Dallas, Texas) . Morgan McFarland was the store manager at the time. They began to visit. Morgan invited these enthusiastic young people to an open gathering, which all attended.
Excitement burst from their brains and hearts. They found what felt like HOME! Morgan agreed to help them find a cohesive connection to what they were doing. So, in the summer of 1976, the Grove of Aradia was formed. A first generation McFarland Dianic priestess, Osmara HPS of Temenos Matrix, felt it was her duty to help these young people understand the inner mysteries of the (McFarland) Dianic Wicca and Faerie Faith. The Grove would be referred to as a Dianic Grove in honor of the tuteledge Morgan McFarland and Mark Roberts were contributing from their Dianic tradition, at the time called Old Dianic. This tradition became known as the Dallas Dianics by 1980 and today is referred to as the McFarland Dianics.
This eventually culminated with all receiving initiations from Osmara and Mark with blessings and best wishes from Morgan, who could not be present.
Grove of Aradia stayed small, consisting of the original nine members. The group decided that the grove existed for their spiritual development and understanding of the Divine aspects of Nature and the Universe. It was not intended to be a teaching grove, but rather one of experience and growth. It was not long before a Statement of Purpose was adopted. This statement has become the official statement of purpose for the tradition. It rings deep to the very core of what we teach and believe:
"All the Same yet Each Different...Change...Growth...Evolution...Success."
By 1977, Grove of Aradia had evolved into a strong part of the pagan community in Dallas, Texas. The core group had developed a strong sense of spirituality, showed growth in knowledge and had created a meaningful ritual format for the practice of the lore that has become the foundation stones of the tradition. Now officially recognized as Coven of the 13 Moons, the group was offering teaching, open rituals and was one of the first supporting member covens for the Lone Star Council of Covenant of the Goddess, Texas, which is today the largest pagan organization in the world.
Staying true to the original mission statement, 13 Moons continued to grow. Not so much in numbers, but rather in the spiritual quality of its members. In 1980, with the blessings of Morgan, Mark and Osmara, the group announced the creation of a new tradition... Artemesian… and the teaching phase of the tradition began. Its book is based on the inner workings and teachings from Coven of the13 Moons, Mother of the Artemesian Tradition of Witchcraft.
The secret to finding the Mystery: There is no mystery!
Basic Artemesian Principles:
This tradition has its roots in the Dianic, Faerie Faith and the Eleusinian Mysteries, as was being practiced in Dallas, Texas during the 1970’s. Like the Dianic, we believe in the Goddess and are matrifocal, but we are a polarized tradition that also honors the God. We believe the God is both immortal and mortal and not simply a mortal representative or Consort as in McFarland Dianic. Our beliefs are based in NINE Statements of Principles. If you can agree with these and are comfortable living by the standard they set, then you may have found a spiritual home. If not, then you might need to continue your search. These Principles are the heartbeat of this tradition. It cannot survive without them. This is the core of our dogma, our theology.
The Divine Alchemy: All Goddesses are one Goddess. All Gods are one God. The Goddess and the God are known by and called many names though they are perceived as only one. The two joined equal together make up the highest form of divinity; that which is neither male nor female. This energy deity is the absolute power behind the Universe and created universal and natural laws and order.
To us, the many pantheons make up the archetypes of what we, as humans, should aspire to become. It is through learning and living with these archetypes that we begin to discover that all Gods and Goddesses stand alone and separate as many deities and are real and do exist in a separate state of existence. The God equals the energy that is given to the Goddess to turn into creative birthing form.
Everything is connected to everything. And the spiral goes on only to loop back on itself and begin again. We learn from and are tested by the dark. We grow from and are rewarded by the light.
We are matrifocal, not a matriarchy. Men are welcome and may study to become High Priest and head a coven, just as women may become a High Priestess with all the privileges associated with the rank. We see this high place as one of service, not one of power. Honor and respect are earned and not automatically given based on the degree a person holds.
There is no Black Magic, no White Magic. Only varying shades of gray as all magical workings are governed by the intent of the practitioner.
Everything is sacred. Life, nature...everything! All comes from the Goddess by act of creation using the energy forces given by the God. (Moon shines from light of the sun, yet would still control the tides if there where no sun.)
All are held accountable for their actions - thoughts as well as deeds. We reserve the right to bless, as well as curse. As in ancient Greece, we do believe in a Heaven and a Hell. Not the fiery pit of Christianity, but more like the Tartarus of the ancient world. We do not escape our wrong deeds and need to learn their lesson in order to evolve on the spiritual ladder.
Heretic Law. As above so below. Love is the Law. Love under the Law and Harm Ye None. We include the self in the harm none. We also acknowledge that this is impossible due to human nature. Therefore, we interpret this to mean: do the best possible to everyone and strive to accomplish fairness of treatment, as deserved from others actions, without prejudice or judgment when possible.
Perfect Love. This is unconditional and carries no strings or conditions. Everything in the universe deserves our love as it came from the act of love between the Goddess and the God. No exceptions! We also teach to start at home. One must truly love oneself first in order to be able to love others.
Perfect Trust. Trust a rattlesnake to strike, a fish to swim. Trust each to be true to their nature. Do not judge or act out of prejudice. Let everything be true to what they are, nothing more. We extend 8 and 9 into everyday life and not simply for ritual.
The principles are nine as the most holy number of the Goddess is nine.
From days of old, the number of the Moon is nine.
It is the equation of the 3-fold law and the 3-fold principle.
The Lessons of the Grove
The Artemesian grove is a training ground for learning all aspects of a rewarding practice and life in the Craft. It is a path requiring much self-discipline and dedication. There is no instant fairy dust or magic spell found here, only hard work leading to a healthy spiritual life.
One of the first things a grove student must learn is how to attune to the cycles of the Moon and of Nature. This is learning to recognize the subtle Lunar influences, unaware to the untrained, and how important they become to our psyche, physiology being, psychology, and personality. The Moon is our measurement of time, and timelessness is Her cycles of ever—resurrection, just as the Goddess is always renewing Herself and the Universe. We are a part of Nature and must learn to live in a harmonious balance with the Laws of Nature.
We also must develop a sense of awareness to the solar cycles, which we think of as the greater cycles of the year or as it is called in the Craft, the Wheel of the Year. This ‘Wheel’ reflects the seasons and mid—seasons through the celebrations of the Quarter and Cross Quarters. These represent the masculine influences we honor, enlightened by the Sun and His light. These are the Male Mysteries.
We strive to attain awareness, an animistic regard for the Gods, in several parts. For many people practicing the Craft, regardless of tradition, this is a major goal. It is an integral part of the basis of Witchcraft to realize your individual oneness with the Universe, from the galaxies and planets to the subatomic elements of our own existence. Everything is connected! Deciding what avenue of study and practice, such as being a healer or diviner comes later. You must first learn to hear the sounds sung by the Universe and be able to understand the music.
In the mystery religions, mythology can aid the seeker to become one with the laws of the universe, by which we are all delicately held in existence and manifestation: the form through which we experience our universe. Experience the archetypal role of the gods through mythological interpretation. Every religion of the world relies on its mythology to reach the unconscious, reached only through symbol, for the unconscious is itself pure symbol.
Know for yourself that ritual is the culmination of your individual academic, psychological, and psychic experiences attained within a formalized mytho-graphic framework. Become aware of the universal totality through symbolically becoming a part of its continual process.
We are trained from birth to repress the physical five senses for intellectualization of our environment. Get away from self-desensitization and learn to hear, see, feel, smell, and taste anew. Acquire a fresh, questioning perspective to sense. The Goddess and God without is not a projection of our own, but is the very Spirit of Nature, our environment, our Womb of Existence.
We consider all paths sacred. No tolerance for bashing other faiths in this tradition is acceptable! Instead of bashing due to personal feelings, get acquainted with other paths, as possible. All faiths, all paths share much truth and have a great deal in common when examined through an open mind. In our day and time this is easier than it ever has been. The Gods are among us in all generations, in all times, in all places.
Within the realm of the magical being, the naturalness of individual expression and control along with symbolic expression pervades our lives. We reawaken new and old meanings in our inner self. Seek union with that consciousness that is for the most part occluded by the mesh of everyday life.
Worship and Devotion
The Artemesian path is a dualistic path with emphasis laid heavily on the feminine psychology of woman and man, the passive role of the universe. She is that which manifestation is. He is that invisible urge throughout the universe, which is behind all manifestation, and within it. We are influenced by the different Dianic paths, but we are NOT a Dianic tradition.
English Witchcraft is where the origin of the Artemesian religious and spiritual path has its true beginnings. As with the McFarland Dianic, we are a re-creation of many ancient religions drawing heavily from Celtic and Greek mythos. As in all earth-based religions, the mysteries and rituals of natural cycles observed by humankind are where we find the central core teachings. We celebrate and worship the great Mother/Creatrix. It is She we refer to when we speak of “Mother Nature”.
As adherents to ancient knowledge, we are apt to practice some kind of craft, even if our daily life is bound up in office work or activities thought of as mundane. Our mundane activities are heightened to the level of a “craft” by the knowledge of our connectedness with the movement and change of the natural cycles. The word “Craft” comes from the Old English and Germanic “Kraft” which means “strength”. It is through knowledge that we gain strength. Strength added to wisdom describes our attitude toward our activities. It is the use of wise strength, which binds us together in a common cause.
An Artemesian witch is pantheistic, knowing that all that exists retains its divinity by virtue of its connection with everything else, which is created. The Goddess is our touchstone on this earth and in this life-cycle. What we feel about our connectedness with Nature is a constant reminder of the continuity of Creation and She who creates all creatures and substances and our kindred spirits. This is a sacred bond. For this reason Witches attune themselves to all Nature. We recognize our family tree with a sense of the roots and root-hairs, the supporting trunk, its offshoots, new branches, budding leaves, and ultimately through these, Ourselves.
We acknowledge and celebrate the Male Consort (our priest) as the chosen companion of the Goddess. His relationship to Her is like that of the Egyptian Osiris to the Great Goddess Isis described by J.J. Bachofen: “Immortal is Isis, mortal is Her husband, like the earthly creation he represents”. In other words, but not as concisely said, the male consort represents our earthly, mortal relationship to that which is Immortal and Divine. We do not regard the mortal and Immortal as separate, but as an example of what our relationship to the Gods should and can be.
We celebrate the Goddess as a triformis deity: a most ancient sense of the trinity, which is seen and recognized in the phases of the moon. The moon has been shown in pictograph and by word of mouth since the Creation to have three periods of growth, fullness and rebirth. And in the same breath the moon has become the symbol of the Goddess. In Her first Aspect, the Goddess is new moon, maiden, virgin- creatrix, youthful innovator; in Her second Aspect She is the full moon, Great Mother, the nurturer, the mature fulfillment, the life-giver to creativity; and in her third Aspect She is the waning moon, dark entity, the old crone who is the keeper of the Key to Immortality, She who exacts the balance of actions. In Her third Aspect the Goddess holds the key to death. But rather than a finality or linear end to life, death is a doorway to rebirth. This is not frightening to a witch. It is seen as a momentary pause of the eternal wheel, a cycle of existence.
We see this lifetime as a turn of the Goddess’ mill wheel, an instance of incarnation like the seasonal motion as the sun, and the phases of the moon. In fact, as the moon disappears between the last quarter and the first it is called the “New Moon” with the knowledge that it will return.
The God is the source giver of all energy. The Goddess cannot create without His gift. He is the force behind all life. Lord of the wild Hunt, it is the God’s force that holds creation in order and keeps chaos at bay. He is represented as the Sun, bright and shining, strong and resilient. He is the twin of darkness, Lord of Death and Rebirth. His cycle is twofold as found in the changing of the seasons, one of light and one phase of dark, each being balanced by the other.
In ancient times, witches were the leaders within their communities. They dealt with common concerns of the people: birth, health, death, and creativity. They intervened for the welfare of all people, the fertility of the fields and flocks, the weather, and the success of the hunters. Sometimes they would concern themselves with the proficiency of the warriors but only in dire circumstances of the immediate defense of the clan or family group. There apparently was no great amassing of warriors for continual “defensive” sorties or conquest as we find to be in common acceptance now. Although witches, the priestesses and priests of the Old Religion have been condemned as ancient “occultists”, they were in fact Naturalists, trafficking in those skills, which perceive the individual personality of each creature, phenomenon and substance in cooperative, mutual response.
As they were, we continue to be women and men who live within our present communities. Some term themselves “city witches” who know they must deal with their natural surroundings, be they secret wood or an office building surrounded by pavement. The occasional return for community with Wild Nature in order to balance our daily absorption with Cultivated Nature, as we find ourselves accepting it, is a necessity we find inspiring and sensual. We perceive the artifices of civilization to be Natural as well, but many prefer to surround themselves with things, which have had the least amount of meddling. The energy problems, which are obviously due to a misuse of power in many forms points out a delicate problem, we are all facing. Perhaps the solution may be found in our daily devotion to the Gods, with the knowledge that all substances, all phenomenon, all living things are from Them and therefore must be Natural. A worshipful attitude toward these, “living” or component material such as minerals and cut wood could be the solution.
We seek to light the ancient lights, seek new paths, and rekindle the flame of Knowledge and the thirst for Knowledge of the Gods. We offer solace to those who thought herself/himself alone in the discovery, acceptance and celebration of Nature. The old Ways exist and the divine ways are never-ending.
Copyright: Moondancers Covenstead and Kalisha 1987
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