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Heritage Witchcraft Tradition
Age Range/Type: Adult
Located in: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Key Contact: Grayson Magnus
Spiritual Path: Traditional Witchcraft
Status: Established Group
Community Support: None Offered
Group Overview: Traditional witchcraft dates back to pre-history and represents the most ancient form of European Witchcraft. It is not Wicca or Neo-Paganism. Just plain old-fashioned "Witchcraft".
The Heritage Witchcraft tradition currently has more than 250 members world-wide and maintains approximately 100 active students in our online academy at any given time. The academy offers free courses to the public with advanced options for a nominal fee. Students may earn a diploma in historically authentic Witchcraft and initiation into the tradition.
We also maintain a local study group in the Lancaster PA area.
Local study-group members must be participating members of the online academy. In-person participation is an earned privilege. We meet quarterly at local libraries.
We recently instituted a minimum age of 18 to participate in any of our formal programs.
About our 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 the traditional witchcraft tradition, 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.
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