Introduction to the Old Religion
Article ID: 14942
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 778
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Author: Grand Master Barabbas
Posted: June 10th. 2012
Times Viewed: 4,502
First, some "facts". The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘Witchcraft’ as a: the use of sorcery or magic b: communication with the devil or with a familiar. (‘Familiar’ being defined as: noun; A demon supposedly attending a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.) ’Wicca’ is: a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles. First Known Use: 1959
If you were to only define the Old Religion as simplistically as the above statements, of course you'd be greatly misinformed. Though, it is quite satisfying for a reputable resource such as the Merriam-Webster dictionary to define witchcraft as "the use of sorcery or magic". To the world, that is a statement of a definitive fact, not an unproven claim. Even the second part states witchcraft consists of a direct and definitive act of communication, even though it's a statement that's been twisted to misinform and terrorize the masses. The devil is a neo-Christian invention spawned from the Arabic Zoroastrian system, which far predates Christianity. It is a boogieman, created to scare people away from the truth. Also, ‘personalizing’ evil as an sentient entity gives a person the option to rationalize away his or her own responsibilities to the world by using "the devil made me do it" excuse.
There is no separate and ultimate evil entity within the Old Religions, no matter which pantheon you follow, and which deities you choose to call on. There is a good and bad, a light and dark, a Yin and Yang inside each sprit, as there is within each of us. If we were truly created in a God's image, I believe these are the Gods I was created after. Such a belief puts the decision in your hands, and you alone are accountable for the repercussions of your actions. This is a concept not many can grasp.
Some people, when they think or talk about the Old Religions, believe that they're referring to Wicca. That's definitely a more informed opinion than in past decades, but that's only a partial truth in itself. As you can see from the definition above, Wicca is a fairly new trend, stemming from the last bans on witchcraft being lifted in Europe. Surviving underground practitioners were finally being able to openly practice their craft and welcome into their rites the presence of outsiders. Eventually there was a large enough group of these outsiders, and they banded together to create a "religious" movement based on their interpretations of the old teachings. This movement, of course, became Wicca or Wiccan.
Wicca is a very positive movement that teaches you to love everyone and appreciate the gifts that the God and Goddess have provided for you. It is a belief system based on a very general and basic understanding of nature spiritual interactions with deities (not the devil or demons) . What's more, it has the flexibility to be different for everyone, which is the key to the Old Religion.
I consider myself a practitioner of the Old Religion. Although I do have much appreciation for the ways of the Wiccans, I do not consider myself as one. There's more to this world, this universe, than any one single religion can teach you. Most, who begin their journey to complete enlightenment in the Old Religion, start with Wicca. Wicca teaches you the basics and fundamentals… the possibilities this large ball of energy is capable of. Some are happy and content with just that, which is absolutely fine, but those who desire more continue to ask questions and seek knowledge.
The meaning of the Old Religion is simple, yet complex. It's true meaning is only discovered through self-enlightenment, in seeking the answers for yourself. But, I would define it as a ‘compilation of all religions, practices and beliefs internalized to empower the self’.
For example, a beginner in witchcraft would gain exposure to spellcasting, charms and blessings, and connecting with deities, as well as perfecting their psychic talents. A more adept Witch or Sorcerer will then master the arts of astrology, and begin to fine-tune their spell-casting in line with the universe. As one progresses and gets more comfortable with oneself and one’s talents, some might begin to dabble in more of the darker arts, such as curses and necromancy.
Though we haven't spoken of it yet, another natural and necessary path to cross on your journey to self-enlightenment is the ancient art of Alchemy. Through this spiritual art, all answers will be revealed. At first, it may seem like an ancient process that science should have done away with, but you'd be foolish if you truly believed that. In many ways, alchemy has triumphed over science but chemistry and alchemy are so closely related, it's difficult to differentiate which is being utilized in the scientific process.
It can take a lifetime to find the answers you desire, but I feel like that's the way it's supposed to be. We were given this gift of life for a reason, and I do not believe it is to be wasted away on a couch in front of a television.
To summarize, the Old Religion consists of everything. It resides inside all of us waiting for the day that our interests are sparked by something we can't explain, something that makes us ask why. There's no right, or wrong and you can only be shown the way, not taken to it… but you'll know when you find it. The Old Religion gives YOU an enormous amount of power to control your own life, and releases you from the shackles that our society as imprinted upon you. You control this power. It’s limits and boundaries, or lack thereof, are set by you and you alone.
"Come forth all who seek enlightenment"
Grand Master Barabbas
Hermetic Order of the Golden Phoenix
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