Goddess Knowledge – Hathor

Hathor, a nourishing great mother goddess, is the Egyptian mother of all gods and goddesses. Usually portrayed as a cow, she is the sky goddess, the queen of the heavens: the sun emerges from her womb and the moon from her breast. She is the goddess of love, mirth, beauty, and sensual pleasure, as well as the protectress of all women. In her other guise, shown here, she is lady of the night and queen of the underworld. With her lion’s head, Hathor assumes the role of destroyer and giver of death. In her leopard skin she is the goddess of fate and fortune and typifies the ferocity and swiftness of this animal, a night prowler and watcher. Hathor is a strong embodiment of the many sides of existence. Creator, sustainer, destroyer, she encompasses all. Hathor reminds us that we, too, must acknowledge all parts of ourselves necessary to allow our creativity and compassion to flourish.

For more information click here: Egyptian Goddess Hathor

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The Rantin’ Raven: The Riddle of the Pentagram BY DANA CORBY

Though ancient beyond belief and occurring in indigenous iconographies all over the world, the Pentagram has become the symbol of magic and Witchcraft. A five-pointed star enclosed within a circle, it is used for invocation, banishing, protection, and as a recognition symbol. Witches will often have a small Pentagram about them, just as Christians will wear a cross on a necklace or lapel pin; for the sense of security it gives them, as a reminder to be conscious of who and what they are, and so other Witches may know them for kin.

Image by Mankey
Image by Mankey

The Pentagram has more meanings than any other symbol in Wiccan iconography. It means perfection, evolution, working to completion, and is a glyph of the way energy moves between the Godhead and humanity and back again. It symbolizes the five physical senses with the spirit at the center; different forms of it represent each of the four magical elements while one form represents all four elements with spirit either at the top or bottom; it also represents motion of the Universe, weaving itself within a place of perfect stillness.

In ritual magic, the symbolism of the Pentagram has been elaborated until it is possible to make it the object of lengthy meditations, and to make entire devotional phrases in Hebrew (in which language every letter has a numerical value, which in turn has an esoteric meaning) out of the proportions of the line segments. As these meditations deal almost entirely with that Deity represented by the Tetragrammaton, further detail is outside my scope here. Nonetheless, it is interesting to Witches to read some of the materials these traditions have generated on the subject, and can enrich our understanding of the meanings and uses of the Pentagram.

There are two primary variations on the Pentagram, as used by Wicca. These are the Banishing and Invoking Pentagram, and the difference between them is

 

READ MORE:  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/05/the-rantin-raven-the-riddle-of-the-pentagram/

 

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Secret life of modern-day witches By Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

It is 400 years since the Pendle witch trials led to 10 people being hanged for witchcraft. But do modern witches still suffer prejudice?

He has carved out a successful career as an employment lawyer.

But the 38-year-old, who is sometimes known as Myrddin, also takes part in activities which he prefers to keep secret.

For Myrddin is the head of a witches’ coven in Lancashire.

He said: “We don’t do anything sinister like Devil worship and we don’t make human or animal sacrifices.

“We honour, revere and give thanks to nature. We celebrate the seasons. It’s not all blood and gore. In spring, we celebrate life and rebirth then in the winter, decay and death to make way for new life.”

His coven in Chorley is little more than 30 miles from Pendle, where in 1612, 10 people were seized amid claims of being involved in witchcraft.

But, 400 years later, prejudice against witches stills exists, according to Myrddin.

He said: “It comes from ignorance and fear of the unknown and it is the reason why rituals and celebrations are held in secret.”

Witch school

In his spare time, he wears a cloak “or something warm for the great outdoors” and heads up a magical working group practising traditional witchcraft which includes druidry, shamanism and wicca.

He said there is no conflict between his

 

READ MORE:  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-19211852

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Full Moon Magic: Harness Lunar Energy for Healing

You don’t have to be a NASA scientist, astronomer, or astrology-aficionado to appreciate the sheer awe-inspiring magic of a full moon.

It’s an experience we’ve all encountered: after a long day, you’re heading home at twilight and suddenly you notice a stunning full moon rising on the horizon. Whatever thoughts were on your mind disappear and you feel an amazing surge of energy and awe. Your connection to the natural world wakes up and you, too, begin to shine!

Full moon energy

Full moons stir up our emotions and amplify mystical powers connected to the human spirit. You take joy in watching what was once dark come into the light, your mind plays out scenes of potential chaos in a wild and untamed world while also basking in deep and uninhibited feeling that is impossible to define.

The time of the full moon is a powerful energy healing opportunity, an optimum time for meditating, recharging your energy field, and clearing your chakras. That is why so many cultures have full moon rituals and ceremonies—there’s so much pure energy in the moonlight that anything it touches can’t help but respond to its radiance and love.

Using the lunar energy of a full moon can yield incredible healing results, both physically and mentally. Full moons bathe your skin in a soft light, while also illuminating the often overlooked crevices of your subconscious—giving you insights into your spirit and soul.

Five full moon rituals that use the healing power of lunar energy:

FULL MOON RITUAL #1
Shine a light on your emotions

During the full moon, emotions are magnified. You have probably heard people blame the full moon when human behavior gets a bit wacky.

Because emotions are more easily accessible during a full moon, it’s a perfect opportunity to acknowledge and release them. By releasing strong emotions that come to light during a full moon, you’ll clear your chakras; this full moon cleansing ritual ensures that you are able to capture the full spectrum of healing energy from the full moon.

If you actively journal, you’ll see big benefits during a full moon.  In addition to expressing your inner truths and feelings, it’s a good time to write out your intentions, make decisions about what you really want, and fully embrace your truest self.

Below are a few journal prompts to help you get started:

  • What does my physical body most need right now?
  • What environments make me feel good?
  • What self-care routines most nourish and heal me?
  • What am I stopping myself from doing?

FULL MOON RITUAL #2
Take a moon bath

Moonlight has holistic healing properties and is able to cleanse your mind, body, and spirit. Spending time under a full moon’s vibrant white glow is like stepping into a warm soothing bath (without the water).

Take a walk under the full moon, preferably with some of your skin exposed to its healing light. As you begin to relax, gaze up at the brilliance of the full moon and bask in its energy and love. Pay special attention to the feelings and emotions coursing through your body and in your chakras. Listen closely to your subconscious: perhaps there is a message that the moon is lighting up inside of you.

A moon bath steeps your body and spirit in purifying light, washing away negativity and leaving you fresh and renewed.

FULL MOON RITUAL #3
Tack up some dreams

Harness the positive energy of the moon by envisioning your goals and dreams. Picture your life as you wish it to be and tack up some actual pictures of your dreams and desires on your vision board. As you dream, so shall you become!

What are your intentions? Your goals? Bucket list experiences?

The full moon will magnify any energy you send out, and help guide it into the welcoming embrace of the universe. Be clear and specific about what you wish to manifest and don’t be surprised when your intentions come true.

Read more      By Deborah King      https://deborahking.com/full-moon-magic-harness-healing/

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Witch Trials in the 21st Century Accusations of witchcraft persist.

The most famous witch trial in history happened in Salem, Massachusetts, during the winter and spring of 1692-1693. When it was all over, 141 suspects, both men and women, were tried as witches. Nineteen were executed by hanging. One was pressed to death by heavy stones.
However, witch trials are not a thing of the past. Indeed, charges of witchcraft and trials of suspected witches are increasing.
Witchcraft
The word witchcraft has good and bad meanings in different cultures around the world. A general definition of witchcraft is the changing of everyday events using supernatural or magical forces.
Witchcraft is usually associated with the power of nature, such as medicinal and poisonous plants, or rains and floods. People accused of witchcraft are said to be able to control natural events such as storms or droughts.
So-called “witch doctors” use combinations of plants and animals, as well as spirituality or supernatural ability, to treat medical conditions. These “witch doctors” are not accused of being witches themselves—they heal illnesses and ailments blamed on witchcraft. “Witch doctor” is often a derogatory term for a traditional healer. Traditional healers, who rely on ancient remedies, are not witch doctors.
Unlike traditional healers, witch doctors use spells. Spells are words or phrases that are suspected of having magical powers. Casting a spell to be wealthy or lucky in love is an example of witchcraft.
Why do some people believe in witchcraft? Using the example of the love spell, some people may believe that the spell is the thing that brought them happiness. However, some people who are unlucky in love may believe that someone is using witchcraft against them.
People try to come up with reasons for their own bad luck, or someone else’s good luck. If someone is really lucky, some people believe they must have cast a spell or made a deal with the devil in order to be so fortunate.
Belief in Witches
Belief in witchcraft is widespread. A 2005 poll of Canadians and people from the United Kingdom found that 13 percent believed in witches. For Americans, that number was even higher: 21 percent.
Most people do not believe in magical witches, of course. Sometimes, though, normally logical people blame supernatural powers for their misfortune.
Today, witch trials occur all over the world. Organizations like the United Nations and Stepping Stones Nigeria have found that the number of witch trials around the world is increasing. They are almost always violent, and sometimes they are deadly.
When people get sick, witchcraft is sometimes seen as the cause. This is especially true in places with poor medical care or few educational opportunities. Although belief in witchcraft is not limited to the developing world, witch trials occur more frequently there.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 25 percent of pregnant women in Zambia are infected with HIV or AIDS. Men, women, and children are accused of spreading HIV/AIDS through witchcraft. Some of the accused are leaders in the scientific community or government advisers. So-called “witch hunters” have been known to kill those accused of witchcraft with a so-called poisonous “tea.” In one town in Zambia, a witch hunter killed 16 people in fewer than four months.
Dozens of people have been killed in Papua New Guinea, the eastern half of the tropical island of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. In January 2009, a young girl was burned alive, accused of being a witch and infecting men with HIV/AIDS. A month later, a father and son were also burned to death after being accused of witchcraft.
Accusations of witchcraft can be associated with good luck as well as bad luck. Nigeria’s oil boom, which began in the 1970s, has made a few of its citizens extremely wealthy. Some Nigerians explain this rapid accumulationof money and power as a sign of witchcraft. As recently as 2007, children accused of witchcraft in Nigeria were burned, poisoned, and abused.
In 2008, rumors that a successful soccer player was using witchcraft triggered a riot in Kinshasa, Congo. The riot and stampede killed 13 people.
In India, landowning women are sometimes accused of witchcraft. Neighbors of the suspected witch may begin collecting firewood on which the suspect will burn. The women, often older widows, are scared enough to leave their homes. Their neighbors then take their land.
People who look different are often the victims of witch trials. In Tanzania, albino people are in danger of being killed for their skin and body parts. Since 2007, more than 50 albinos have been killed for ritual use. Tanzanian witch-doctors believe the arms, legs, skin, and hair of albinos have special magic in them, and that their use will bring their clients good luck in love, life, and business.
In the Republic of Benin, the country’s government has used people’s fears of witchcraft to explain why some people do better than others. According to many legends, a baby that is not born head-first and with its face upwards is considered to be a witch. The so-called baby witches have been blamed for poor agricultural seasons or illnesses. Many babies are abandoned or killed.
President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia believes he is being targeted by witches. According to Amnesty International, as many as 1,000 Gambians accused of witchcraft have been arrested and tortured on orders from the president. At least two people are dead. President Jammeh also claims to be able to cure AIDS on Thursdays and fires doctors who disagree with him.
Read more      By:  Mary Schons      https://www.nationalgeographic.org/news/witch-trials-21st-century/

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What is Sigil Magick?

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You may think that this name is just a coincidence, but it’s actually not, and it does represent a form of magic. Sigil comes from the Latin word “sigillum”, which means seal. In Hebrew, for instance, “segula” comes with the meaning of action or talisman. Now you may wonder whose seal it is. Or how can one use such a seal? It is actually a symbolic representation of the intentions of a magician or of one that practices magick. It is not a recent discovery since sigil magic was used centuries ago as well. Many books found, which belong to medieval times, contain these magical symbols; so it looks like people did seek the help of these seals throughout history.

In the occult manifestations of the medieval times, the sigil was represented by symbols of angels or demons, which could be summoned by the magician. Also, think about the Germanic runes, or symbols encrypted on stones, dating back to the Neolithic era. So this may look like an ancient form of magic, meant to put to use the Universe’s forces. A controversial list, containing such sigils, is “The Lesser Key of Solomon”, which is said to contain 72 sigils, belonging to princes of Hell. Considered to be the symbol that represented the real name of the entities, it is said that the magician who had the list could have controlled and summoned the beings.

Today, this method is used in the so-called Chaos Magick, and it is said to work this way: A magician thinks about an intention and writes down that statement of intent. Next, he cuts all the vowels out. After cutting the vowels out, he must check to see if the remaining letter have duplicates. If there are duplicates, he must cut down all the duplicates so that every letter has a single representative. Then, with the remaining letter, he can craft his own sigil. It can be of any shape or design, chosen by the magician. To actually work, the sigil must be charged with his energy. Either he turns to a meditative state, uses his sexual energy or blood, through an energetic outburst or just by declaring his intention. The sigil is then used as a discreet symbol written on a piece of paper, in a crystal, on a piece of wood, whatever works for the person using this type of magic.

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THE “WICCA/WITCH” CONNECTION: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WITCH AND A WICCAN?

Anyone who has ever been confused about whether Wiccans are Witches, or vice versa, can rest assured that they are not alone! These two words have been used in different ways, with sometimes very different connotations, for centuries. Today, they may be considered interchangeable by some practitioners of Wicca, but completely distinct from each other by others. Some Wiccans identify as Witches, while others do not. Furthermore, there are plenty of folks whose practice of Witchcraft has elements that overlap with Wicca, but who do not identify as Wiccans.

For Wiccans who don’t consider themselves Witches, the reason is usually that they don’t practice magic, which is the part that most people think of as “Witchcraft.” They worship the Goddess and God, celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year and live in harmony with nature, but they don’t seek to harness the natural energies at work in the Universe to bring about desired change in their lives. Therefore, these Wiccans are not Witches.

Interestingly enough, however, the origins of what we now know as Wicca were absolutely considered to be Witchcraft, as described by Gerald Gardner and many others who studied and practiced occult spirituality in the U.K. from the 1940s through the 1960s, where the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions were founded and developed. These pioneers of modern Witchcraft did view themselves as Witches, and in fact the word “Wicca” was not applied to these forms of the Craft until several years later, once the practice had spread to the United States.

So where does the word “wicca” come from? It’s actually an Old English word for “sorcerer” or “diviner,” and comes from the old Anglo-Saxon culture, where these magical skills were valued. As the English language evolved, “wicca” eventually became “witch,” a linguistic shift that occurred sometime during the 1500s. (Interestingly, the word “wiccan” in Old English was actually the plural form of “wicca,” whereas today it has become an adjective to describe anything associated with the religion of Wicca.) For his part, Gardner referred to his coven members as a whole as “the Wica,” and it’s believed that this is where the modern name Wicca evolved from.

Many who feel strongly about their self-identification as Witches will say that they are reclaiming the word from the centuries of Christian persecution, when it became an accusation rather than a respected title. No one in their right mind would have identified as a Witch during those times, but thankfully we have the freedom today to do so. Nonetheless, there’s still a long way to go in terms of removing the stigma from the “W” word, which may be why so many Witches choose to capitalize it—in order to distinguish it from the fairy-tale stereotype of the “wicked witch,” or an insult aimed at grouchy women. In fact, these negative connotations are why some Wiccans choose not to identify as Witches.

So how do you know which word to use? When it comes to describing yourself, you should always go with what resonates in your heart. When it comes to other people, you can always ask them respectfully how they self-identify. Because Wicca as we know it today is such an eclectic, individualized practice (aside from Traditional Wicca of course), it’s really up to individuals to decide what they’re comfortable with when it comes to the “W” word.

By: Wicca Living