Getting Back to the Roots of The Craft
Article Specs |
Article ID: 8751
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,511
Times Read: 4,989
Author: Paul Netusil
Posted: October 10th. 2004
Times Viewed: 4,989
As Pagans today, we are finally able to practice freely again. Recognized as a religion since 1985, we have done very little since then to not only move forward in a unified way to decide the future for our children, how they will be accepted as the next generation of The Craft, but to reclaim what we lost during our slaughter.
Our spiritual practice is fairly universally referred to as "The Craft." It was the first form of specialization when it came to the specific Magical strengths attained through spiritual discipline. If we take a look specifically at European Paganism before, during, and after the introduction of Christianity we will find the loss of that specialization. The "CRAFT"...It was a skill, an art. Think cast a spell. Cast as in mold, shape, or smith. To work and make with skilled hands.
Before Christianity entered the scene things were different from today in one very specific way. When it came to the practice of The Craft, all had latent talents that were different or stronger than others. Here is the division in how we practice now vs. the way we used to practice. Some of the practitioners were better at seeing; some better at the manipulation of energy (Magic) , some better at healing body or spirit. Also, some were better at "Claiming Knowledge." But your job/Craft fell in line with your natural abilities, while today we are much more separated and erratic. This specialization is where you get the term "The Craft."
The way things worked was easy...I can show you how an algebra equation works out on paper. The Priest/ess, or leader, would Claim Knowledge. Basically find the equations about the interaction of the spirit of mankind and Infinity, God, Goddess, Buddha Nature, whatever, and solve them with the help of the Coven. The Priest/ess would then explain and show the Knowledge and how and why it worked. Then the Seer, Smith (energy worker) , or the Spiritual Healer, would use this new Knowledge in their individual Craft. This would advance the total knowledge of the group (however big or small) , as well as lead to greater Craft strength in the individual skill set.
Enter Christianity. Murder and conversion, etc. Now is where the biggest change took place between the strength we had, and how and why we still haven't totally recovered. Sometimes the whole coven was killed, sometimes a few got away. Our predecessors still had their own Craft, but they wanted the Knowledge to stay intact. So they learned things that they didn't understand or have personal Claimed Knowledge of, to ensure it survived. They learned skill sets that were alien to them.
Say that local Christian priests and lawmen find out about the Coven and wipe them out. One person survives. Now there is one person left from a seasoned and Knowledgeable group of the Craft. This person, who was possibly a healer before, now has the job of teaching all the skill sets/Crafts of their Coven or tribe. But, because it was specialization, they wouldn't have first hand knowledge of the practice and application of other skill sets. The Claimed Knowledge would be hard for them to interpret, let alone teach, when they didn't directly understand that Craft.
So survivors carried the Knowledge. But to make sure it survived until it was safe again to explore the infinite, they just taught what had been learned so far. Much was missing because lineages* could no longer be taught, and many Coven members died. The Coven turned from being a group of dedicated Craftspeople with naturally different magical talents that were together working to unravel the secrets of the spirit (both the internal and external spirit) and how it relates to humankind, to barely surviving, hunted groups of people barely able to pass on bits and pieces of the Knowledge without risking death. So what was once an equally participant group of seekers with no leader other than the hunt for Knowledge, was reduced to a group that worshiped in the same ways, but no longer had the time, safety, or individual education to hunt new Knowledge. They could only pass down what they could and hope later generations could rebuild what was lost.
This went on for hundreds of years. Less and less survived. Fewer and fewer had the specialization. Now, skip to 1985. Recognized as a religion, which grants some safety to the new practitioners, we are now able to reform the skill sets and focused training. IF, this is what we want. This will take a great deal of work, but this is also what many people died to make sure could happen. Right now is the culmination of that work and dedication. Now how can we do this? Is this even possible? I have heard the analogy that getting Pagans together is like "herding cats." Although funny, the Religious Right is already trying to get New Age religions unrecognized once again. Personally, I would like to see some groups forming dedicated to Knowledge as well as worship. I hope we haven't lost too much or been beaten too far down. It would be very sad if, after all this work to get us here, we couldn't take back our identity.
We were the leaders, teachers, doctors, and artists, respected for our knowledge, skill and Craft. I would love too see more people dedicated to the advancement of the Craft. We need to redefine the learning process a bit in my opinion. Think about a teacher trained in dreaming who is in charge of teaching that art, and using her skill set to try to learn more. This person would be in charge of teaching the Dreamers/Seers as individual students and helping the Coven or group by bringing their ability and strength to the Magic rituals of the group.
A quick example of what I am referring to in terms of specialization: Instead of a fairly typical ritual where everyone focuses their attention and energy on the total ritual, each skill set would play a different roll to max out their energetic potential. A Dreamer might enter into their state, so there is now a link between the physical world and the energetic/astral. The Smith now might use this person like a straw to pull energy from there to here to be shaped to a form (casting a spell) . This changes the potential strength in their Magic and ritual. The old practitioners used everything around them and their Knowledge was earned through the dedication of those around them, and answering new questions through a skill set, leading to ten more questions that other skill sets might have to take on. The power and knowledge of the Coven was directly affected by the Claimed Knowledge, and proficiency in their individual skill sets.
In closing, I guess I want to see us take back our strength, and the respect our predecessors had, now that we can. They worked hard to ensure that we could one day have that again. It's ours for the taking, but we have a great deal of work ahead of us to truly rebuild. They did their part; the rest is up to us.
*Lineage: Apprenticeship wherein a Smith would apprentice to a Smith, and would learn their spiritually Claimed Knowledge and Craft, their Craft being their way to explore the unknown.
Location: Ballston Spa, New York
Author's Profile: To learn more about Paul Netusil - Click HERE
Bio: I am a 22-year-old Gaian Seeker from Oswego, NY. I began learning through a Wiccan Priestess at 17 and then worked with a Seeker for 4 years as an apprentice. My tradition is Oriental in its roots. I enjoy teaching and reading, martial arts and music.
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