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Pathways to Witchcraft

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Post  THE BOSS!!! on Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:55 am

Originally posted on phantom foxes by tori:

Pathways to Witchcraft
A Solitary, is a witch that practises alone, or with a partner.

A Wiccan is someone who follows the Gardnerian, or Alexandrian traditions (you can read about this further down).

If you mix and match your religion, say some old ways with some Wiccan, and maybe Celtic aspects, then you are an Eclectic Witch.

A Hedge Witch may do this too, but will additionally be interested in nature, healing, herb craft, folklore, and older traditions. Some Hedge Witches may not use ritual, and may only practise folk magic, which is uncomplicated spell work.

Dianic Witchcraft evolved from the feminist movement, and it is a pathway for women only.

Hereditary Witches come from a long unbroken line of witches. Brought up in the Craft, their family teach them secret ways, and magic. The evidence of hereditary witches is virtually non-existent. This may be because there are not any, or at least many, real hereditary witches around. It may also be that they keep their craft a very close secret, as a family tradition.

Witch or Wiccan?

There is now a blurring of the meaning of Wicca. Some witches call themselves Wiccans, when they are really a Solitary, an Eclectic, or Hedge Witch. Others have never even heard of Gerald Gardner who is the founder of Modern Wicca. Many people coming into the craft remain ignorant of the difference, as they do not study properly. They wrongly believe that Wicca is an ancient religion.

Wicca is a modern religion based around Paganism. Not all Pagans are witches but many witches are Pagans, and not all witches are Wiccans (yes, it is confusing). But true to say Wicca is very connected with nature like most forms of the Craft, the Goddess and God both being prominent. In a nutshell, Wicca is modern Witchcraft, as invented by Gerald Gardner (Gardnerian Wicca).

Gerald Gardner began Modern Pagan Wicca as we see it today, back in 1951 after the repeal of the Witchcraft act. Alex Sanders (of Alexandrian Wicca) followed him, basing his Wicca on Gardner's ideas, and bringing much publicity to the Craft.

Gardner explained his knowledge with an uncorroborated story of an initiation into the Craft in the New forest by a hereditary witch called Dorothy Clutterbuck. Many people believe this to be a false claim, as Doreen Valiente, an associate and friend of Gardner wrote many of the rituals (but also made a good attempt to prove his claim). Gardner also modelled many of his rituals on the writings of Alistair Crowley.

Crowley was a prominent member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, basing his rituals on those of the Rosicrucian and Freemason societies. Gardner made mistakes concerning the history of witchcraft including the myth about burning. It is up to the individual whether or not they believe his Book of Shadows to be a genuine ancient collection of hereditary workings of the Craft.

Alex Sanders claimed that he was initiated by a witch connected with Gerald Gardner then changed his story claiming to be a hereditary witch and initiated by his grandmother.

Modern Wicca of the past fifty years or so developed from these people. However, much of Gardnerís ritual and ceremony comes from folklore, and old and ancient rites.

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