Heritage Witchcraft Tradition and Academy
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Article ID: 15230
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 190
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Author: Grayson Magnus
Posted: November 11th. 2012
Times Viewed: 1,561
Traditional witchcraft dates back to pre-history and represents the most ancient form of European Witchcraft. It is not an aspect of Wicca or Neo-Paganism. Just plain old-fashioned "Witchcraft".
The Heritage Witchcraft Tradition currently has more than 350 members worldwide and maintains approximately 100 active students in our online academy at any given time. The academy offers open courses to the public. Students may earn a diploma in historically authentic Witchcraft and initiation into the tradition.
The underlying beliefs of authentic Witchcraft comprise a world-view known as animism (from Latin anima meaning "soul”, or life") . The fundamental ideology of animism is that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical worlds and that all things have souls or spirits, including animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers and all aspects of the manifest world. Such reasoning also applies to abstract concepts such as words, true names and metaphors in mythology. This is in contrast to Pantheism, Monism, Dualism and Idolatry, which are all hallmarks of modern Paganism.
While traditional Witchcraft does not involve the worship of deities, it places great importance on the reverence of ancestral and familiar spirits as sources of power, luck, information, insight into the future and magical prowess.
Perhaps the most significant element of traditional witchcraft is also the most forgotten and neglected by modern attempts to recreate the tradition. In her book The Witch Cult in Western Europe, (1921) Margaret Murray presented overwhelming evidence for the practice of erotic spirituality in the form companionship with “familiar spirits”. Murray presented freely given trial testimonies wherein accused Witches admitted to having life-long romances with espoused spirits and that their powers of divination and magic were directly attributed to this relationship. While Murray's overall theories and conclusions about an organized religious cult have since been abandoned, the raw data she collected provides clear evidence for the beliefs and practices of traditional witchcraft. Such beliefs are further attested in traditional literature including: Cupid and Psyche, Oisin and Nimh, Thomas the Rhymer and Tamlin.
A defining characteristic of traditional witchcraft is that magic is often accomplished by proxy, using the spirit-companion to directly interface with the spirit-world in order to effect change in the essence of a thing or being.
Ancestry is also an important element of traditional Witchcraft. Anthropologists recognize that the most ancient form of human spirituality involved ancestral worship. Long before the first gods were ever conceived, deceased ancestors were invoked and petitioned to grant knowledge, power and favors. A fundamental tenant of ancestral worship is that the living inherit the virtues of their ancestors. Upon death, we join our ancestors and add our own unique achievements and personal power to that legacy.
Spiritual ancestry is not limited to lineal descent. A person can be spiritually “adopted” into an ancestral lineage and gain the full advantages thereof. Recently, Scottish archaeologists discovered mummified human remains consisting of bones, from several different bodies, integrated to form complete human skeletons. One theory as to why the ancients did this, 3000 years ago, is that the ritual combination of bones from different families could tie the ancestral lineages together, somewhat like a marriage ceremony for the deceased. This meant that the living descendants of those ancestors would then be considered related.
In traditional witchcraft, a similar rite involves the addition of the name of a newly initiated witch to a scroll containing the ancestral lineage of his or her mentor.
There are many other sources of power in traditional witchcraft.
Personal Powers includes the energies generated by the body, mind and soul. Sometimes these are called “psychic” powers. Types of personal power include chakras the aura, bio-spiritual and mental energies.
Elemental Powers are the metaphysical forces that underlie the various geological, biological and mechanical forces which make-up and sustain the natural world. These forces are immediately apparent in the rotation of the seasons, the cycles of the moon, the behaviors of animals and the life-giving processes of natural world.
Cosmic Powers. The Earth is but one tiny planet amidst a sea of galaxies, stars and other planets. While we can only glimpse the surface of the cosmos by reflecting on our night sky, it is our window to the greater reality that governs our world. Such observations allow us to conduct magic at the most opportune and appropriate times.
Archetypal Powers. Archetypes are universally understood human concepts or symbols that pervade our collective consciousness, regardless of time and culture. In other words, archetypes are the fundamental essence of a concept. Examples of archetypes may include the wise sage, the warrior, king and queen, devil, saint, love, hate, maidenhood, fatherhood, motherhood, ghosts, angels, and, most appropriately, the Witch. A well known example of an archetype is Merlin from Arthurian mythology who is derived from the same archetype as Obi Won Kenobi of Star-Wars. From a magical perspective, it is believed that archetypes exist as spiritual entities, which embody and govern specific human qualities.
The most important archetype for Witches is that of the Witch herself. It is the initiating power that indoctrinates the witch into the hallowed institution of witchcraft. It is our shared link to the knowledge, wisdom and power of our ancestors.
Animal Totems and Helpers. Witches are widely understood to employ the services of companion animals to do their bidding undetected. In fact, many animistic Witchcraft traditions from around the world utilize both wild and domestic animals much in the way the military now uses unmanned drones to observe activity at a distance. It is believed that Witches and Shaman are able to consciously occupy the bodies of animals in order to travel covertly or obtain materials that would difficult for human to obtain. The use of familiar animals is a defining aspect of the authentic witchcraft.
Divination. New-age traditions have adopted many theories about how divination works, ranging from the psychological to the pseudo-scientific. But traditional forms if divination always relied on communication with various kinds of spirits in order to predict the future or obtain information. Traditional witchcraft divination may include scrying, reading tea-leaves, observing cloud formations and the shapes of flames. However, most commonly, information was obtained through trance-work, altered states of awareness and intimate communion with one's spirit-companion.
The Witch Cult in Western Europe. M Murray.
Faery Mysticism. Ari Devi.
Oisin and Nimh. Traditional.
Thomas the Rhymer. Traditional
Location: Ephrata, Pennsylvania
Bio: Grayson Magnus is the director of Heritage Witchcraft Academy and The Magnus School of Wizardry.
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