Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What is a Witch?

What is Witch?
Theresa Chaze

In the media the image of a witch has been changed from the green, warted hag to that of a beautiful woman who has amazing powers. From The Charmed Ones to Buffy to Practical Magic, witches have become strong, beautiful women who use their gifts to help others. Although this is a positive movement, it is a great exaggeration of what the modern witch truly is. Whether a person identifies themselves as Wiccan, Witch or Pagan, their religion is based on traditions that reach back to a time when humans toiled the soil and hunted for food. Their survival depended on the kindness of the elements, the fertility of the soil, and the luck of the hunting. Through family traditions and experimentation, they learned how to use natural means to heal and to protect the family. It was this knowledge that made them targets of people who feared their “power”. Generally they are a positive, loving force in the universe, who only wish to live in peace and leave the earth a little better place. However there also remains the misconception of who or what they worship. Devils or Satan are a not part of their religion, nor are they an anti-force to other religions. Only by respecting all paths can we honor ourselves, each other and the Divine life force, no matter by what name it is called.

Most people today, do not grow their own food or hunt in the forest, instead they work jobs and forage in supermarkets. This doesn’t change the essential nature of their goals, which is to provide for their families and themselves. By working in harmony with the natural energy, which surrounds them, they can bring balance, peace and prosperity into their lives. This doesn’t mean their lives will be without challenges, but it does mean that with faith in themselves and the Divine they can weather the challenges to reach their best and highest goals. Through spells and rituals, they create what they need without harming anyone including themselves. By using the elements air, fire, water and earth they create barriers to protect their homes. They use things like sage, incense, holy water, and sea salt to purify and cleanse. They used illusion to hide both themselves and their homes when others wish them harm. The basic key is to take responsibility for their actions and for what they cause to happen. Whether you call it the Wiccan creed “Do what ye will, but harm none” or “what goes around or comes around“; they believe their actions have consequences. Therefore they do not wish harm on others, for they know the same harm will be done to them. Only exception is in self-defense and even then they are limited to equal force for equal protection. To go beyond is to open themselves to the justice and balancing of the universe.

When situations or needs are beyond their reach they ask for help. Some believe that there is only one Goddess or God, while others believe in a pantheon of deities who have specific talents and roles. Every culture has deities who they reach out to. Their names change but there is a great deal of similarity between cultures. Some believe that no matter what name they are called, there are only a single Goddess and God, which have different names for each aspects. There are many sun gods. Ra is Egyptian. Zeus is Greek. Freyr is Norse. Lugh is from the Celtic culture. Liza is known in West Africa. Whereas not all of the gods are connected to the sun, most goddesses have links to the moon. Selene, Athena, Isis, Oya, and Arianrhod are only a few examples of moon goddesses. Although they are all connected with the moon they also have their specific roles. To add to the diversity, there are those who call themselves Christian Witches. They follow the wisdom of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, yet they still work in harmony with the planetary energy. They do not see a conflict between the belief systems, but see one reinforcing the other.

Through generations of experimentation, they have learned how to heal with plants, healing touches and with other resources the planet provides. Through trial and error they learned which plants heal and which ones do harm. This knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation, each one adding a little more to the total information base. They also have discovered that some gemstones influence the over all physical and emotional health. By placing them in specific combinations on different parts of the body, they can strengthen the immune system and help release emotional or physical traumas. Many of those on the spiritual path have learned new alternative healing methods like Reiki and Shen. These are healing methods, which help the person direct the universal energy to not only cleanse but restore balance on the physical and spiritual levels. In addition, by taping into the planetary electrical system, which is typically called ley lines, they are able to increase their access to higher energy levels and older wisdom. It is where these lines cross that powerful wisdom and medicine can be found. Places like Stonehenge and Sedona are two of the more powerful and well known access points. At these cross roads, it is easier to reach to other dimensions or to reach out to other places on this planet.

Wiccans also respect other religions. We do not alter their rituals or prayers as an anti-religion. Although there are covens, who as part of their initiation require the Lord’s Prayer to be said backwards, it is not part of the Wiccan/Pagan faith. It just means that some groups have splintered away from the Christian path as a protest to the domination. The Pagan religion especially existed long before Jesus Christ walked the earth. They do not worship the devil. There are no devils in their religion; it is totally a Christian concept. This does not mean that they do not acknowledge there are negative forces in the universe. There are. Their job is to challenge and to help with spiritual growth. Without them, a person could not learn from previous mistakes. If a person has a history of stealing watermelons, but was placed in a situation where they did not have access to watermelons, how could they learn not to steal watermelons? Being challenged by past mistakes is how a person spiritually grows and becomes stronger. Free will is the highest law in the universe. No deity in any religion may interfere with the individual’s free choice. Evil things happen in this world because someone chose to make them happen. This is the basis of one of the major conflicts between Christians and Earth based religions. Many Christians try to force their beliefs and doctrines on none believers. By doing so, they upsurpe the “non believers‘” free will, thereby their actions are in direct conflict with the Free Will law. Their God will not break it, yet they feel it is their right and duty to force their beliefs on others which puts them in direct volition of the first commandment.

It is possible for all religions to live together peaceful as long as differences are respected and the similarities are rejoiced. No matter which language is used, all religions believe that it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal and deliberately harm others. No exceptions. If others do not follow your spiritual path, bless them then live your life in peace and love, and move on. Do not try to covert or harass them. It is not your job or your right to force anyone to follow your beliefs. Christians who threaten or do violence against another is in direct violation of the third, sixth, eight and ninth commandments. By doing violence against others you misuse the Lord’s vision of peace and love. Jesus found a comfy spot and allowed people to come to him; he did not break into their homes, threaten to take their children and get them fired from their jobs. He spoke and his wisdom attracted people. Wiccan and Pagans do not try to convert. They do not stand on street corners nor do they come knocking on front doors. They simply live their lives, work their jobs, raise their children, and do their best to be good people. If more people followed this example and their own doctrine there would be less conflict

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