The New England Covens of Traditionalist Witches (N.E.C.T.W.)
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Article ID: 9085
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: January 28th. 2001
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HISTORY: The New England Covens of Traditionalist Witches (N.E.C.T.W.) was founded by Lady Gwen Thompson (1928-1986), a hereditary Witch from North Haven, Connecticut. It is with the utmost respect that the Elders of the N.E.C.T.W. Family dedicate this essay to the loving memory and the living Tradition of Gwen Thompson.
Gwen's impact on the development of the Craft today is undeniable. She is most widely known as the original source of The Wiccan Rede. Most Witches are familiar with the Rede, yet its origin is often shrouded in confusion.
The Wiccan Rede first appeared in print in 1975 in Green Egg, (Vol. viii, No. 69) in an article by Gwen Thompson entitled "Wiccan-Pagan Potpourri." She attributed her Tradition's version of the Rede to her paternal grandmother, Adriana Porter, who crossed over into the Summerland in 1946.
Gwen's family tradition originated in Somerset England and was brought to the United States by way of Nova Scotia. It was handed down through many generations and blended with popular occultism to become the present form she named N.E.C.T.W.. Not all who are born into a family tradition are destined to follow this path, and Gwen feared her tradition would die out and fade into obscurity. This was the principal reason she decided to "foster" individuals outside her family bloodline in order to ensure that the Tradition would survive.
Core Beliefs and Practices
Gwen often spoke of the need for Initiates to shun the limelight and to remain "underground." Yet due to confusion surrounding the Rede even then, she felt its publication would set the record straight.
Ironically, since its first appearance in Green Egg, her family's version of the Rede has appeared in numerous publications, websites and is even sold as a poster, yet in only a few of these instances has the name of Gwen Thompson or the memory of her family actually been credited. A complete and accurate representation of the Rede can be found at www.nectw.org/ladygwynne.html.
It is important to note that the spiritual significance, tenets and principles and deep mystical meaning remain enclosed within the Rede. These teachings are fully explained to the initiated Witch, and remain oathbound. Much of our lore, including much of the Rede's significance, is transmitted orally. Upon reflection, a sincere seeker can glean much truth and wisdom in these 26 lines.
The Elders of the N.E.C.T.W. have authorized the publication - The Rede of the Wiccae: Adriana Porter, Gwen Thompson, and the Birth of a Tradition of Witchcraft. The book is authored by Professor Robert Mathiesen of Brown University and Theitic, Elder and Historian of the N.E.C.T.W.
Core Beliefs and Practices
The N.E.C.T.W. is a place for men and women to be trained as Priests and Priestesses of the Craft. The teachings and intense training are not for everyone. They require a strong follower with a peculiar sense of dedication, and a sincere heart willing to train and practice in order to understand the ways of the Wise. Those seeking to join this Tradition are ideally of keen mind, strong spirit and able body, ready to study the Old Ways and make this path an integral part of their life.
Within the N.E.C.T.W. Covens, the eight Sabbats and thirteen full moons rituals are observed as well as healings, blessings, dedications, passings and other rites for special purposes. Ways of Worship
The N.E.C.T.W. is a place for men and women to be trained as Priests and We do not work skyclad, but are always robed. Although we are a Goddess-oriented group, we recognize and honor the Horned God as Her consort. N.E.C.T.W. initiates are interested in folklore, meditation, ritual concepts, Celtic history, literature, philosophy, music and art, ecology, herbal lore, runecraft, spellcraft, astrology, Tarot, divination by crystal, pendulum, and board. We do not charge any fees, but all are expected to contribute their share to Circles and feasts.
We are quite informal and a key word in our tradition is family. Unity, harmony, courtesy, respect, study, devotion and dedication to the Gods and each other are greatly emphasized. Circles are held outdoors at night unless the weather brings them inside. The feast of cakes and wine are also observed within the Circle, as well as the general Coven feast of the Sabbat. The active Elders, leaders of their respective Covens, are an extremely close-knit group and consider themselves quite literally as Gwen's family. It is a truly unique relationship within the Craft, with communication on a regular basis to discuss issues and concerns relating to the Tradition. All initiations and elevations are made known among the family, and recorded appropriately by the Tradition's Historian.
Gwen once wrote "Nobody can hear a whisper while they're talking, " and meditation is a most important adjunct to the learning of the Mysteries of the Old Religion. To the N.E.C.T.W. Initiate, there is only one form of wisdom that time alone can bestow, and that is lessons learned from experience.
Organization of Groups
Within the umbrella of N.E.C.T.W. Family are various practicing Traditions: N.E.C.T.W. Mainstream Tradition, Oakmist Tradition, and others. Each Coven is completely autonomous and guided by its High Priestess and High Priest. Matters between Covens or relating to the Tradition may be decided upon by the Council of Elders. Outside of these three core Traditions, Gwen Thompson's teachings have had extensive influence on many other Craft Traditions in the U.S., some of which are still active today: The New York Welsh Tradition, Blue Star Tradition (via New York Welsh Tradition), Georgian Tradition, Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries (K.A.M.) and the StarBorne Tradition. She was an influence on many Gardnerian and Alexandrian Elders as well.
Covens, groups and individuals who are practicing members of, and associated with the New England Covens of Traditionalist Witches Family can be found on the N.E.C.T.W. main web site, NECTW.org. If anyone has any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact the Historian and Archivist for the N.E.C.T.W. at the email link below
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
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