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Thread: Questions about this path

  1. #1
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    Questions about this path

    Okay I know that there are questions posted here about what exactly is Traditional Witchcraft and it's not my intention to repeat what others have asked. However I'm interested in knowing the answers to my questions and the best people to ask are you fine and lovely Traditional witches. So here goes, I'm starting off with things that I've learned, and please correct me if I'm wrong, and then I'll ask the actual questions.

    What I know.....

    Witchcraft is far more older than any religion. It's a pre-Christian practice.

    Witchcraft practiced before Gardner dealt with helping both people and cattle and this included using witch balls, spirit houses, hexes, curses, knot magic, poppets stuck with pins (got this info from watching those video's about people that visited the witchcraft museum), blasted rods, and other things.

    Witchcraft wasn't about light and love but about doing what was needed.

    Witchcraft didn't have the Rede, it has cause and effect.

    Magic didn't have a K at the end.

    The witches that practiced witchcraft were the wise ones, the cunning folk.

    Cornwall was the last strongholds of witchcraft due to the location. It was hard for the Church to go there when it was so far away and so hard to get to.

    The Full Moon celebrations are called Full Moon and the Sabbaths are called Festivals.

    What I don't know and this is where I need the help and let me explain. Those that practice Traditional Witchcraft, not Wicca, are a confusing lot. How much of their practices are in Wicca and how much are not. Here's a list that I would like answered.

    1: Do they have a god and goddess placed on their altars (note: I know that Traditional Witches don't believe in blending like Wiccans do). Let me know if I'm right or wrong.

    2: Now I know that they practice folk magic, which isn't the question. The question that I'm asking is that do they employ the same methods that their ancestors used which includes the witch ball, spirit houses, hexes, and curses.

    3: Why don't Traditionals like Wiccans? I mean if it hadn't been for Gardner then they wouldn't have the protection.

    4: Why is there so much fighting between Traditionals and Wiccans over things.

    5: Do Traditionals view their tools the same as Wiccans, meaning the ritual knife is it used for recreating the great rite or is it, like I've read, used for other things including long-distance magic and I believe weather magic.

    6: What do they call their books that they write there information down?

    7: Do all Traditionals go outside to do their rituals or do some of you stay indoors.

    8: Why were bones used in the first place and are they used today? If this is a repeat of another question then I'm sorry.

    9: Do Traditional witches wear a pentacle around their necks or are they secret about what they do.

    10: What good books do you recommend for me that aren't filled with nonsense.

    If I have any more questions then I'll just place them here. Thanks everyone and I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

  2. #2
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    Well since no one has taken a shot at this i'll answer from my perspective anyways.

    Witchcraft is far more older than any religion. It's a pre-Christian practice.

    This is not competely true. I say that based upon the position that not all people would claim it as Witchcraft. What a lot today would lay at the door of Witchcraft would better be assigned as Animism, shamanic type traditions, Folk traditions, Cunning Folk, etc. Few of them actually recognizing the notion of Witchcraft.

    Historically one does not find witches one finds sorcerors, magicians of high esteem and folk practioners in rural settings. Its like Medea, today she is spoken of as a witch yet in the early records she is a sorsoress.

    Witchcraft practiced before Gardner dealt with helping both people and cattle and this included using witch balls, spirit houses, hexes, curses, knot magic, poppets stuck with pins (got this info from watching those video's about people that visited the witchcraft museum), blasted rods, and other things.

    Again not competely accurate. Poppets, Corn Dollies used in many folk traditions did not use Voodun / Santeria type usages of needles and pins. More often than not they were more harvest & fertility type usages and parts of ritual celebrations.

    Their hold and presence being more found in agro type cultures.

    Many times one might acutally align with the notion of color magics, white for good, black for evil and grey for personal practice.

    Witchcraft wasn't about light and love but about doing what was needed.

    It depended upon the practioner, the tradition they were part of and even the local they were in. Some were seen in a beneficial light, others as the source for foul deeds. Many times one seen as both.

    The witches that practiced witchcraft were the wise ones, the cunning folk.

    Again very debatable depending upon persception. It's like PowWow magics, they are based upon follore usage and were seen as cunning folks. Yet their whole practice built upon or around bible usage. Many folk traditions incorporating a blending of various local / religious beliefs and practices.

    To be a cunning person or one of many names didn't automaticaly make them witches. Nor did it make them seen in the light of being witches.

    Cornwall was the last strongholds of witchcraft due to the location. It was hard for the Church to go there when it was so far away and so hard to get to.

    That would seem on the surface to be only indicative of Cornwall. Highland Witchcraft survived long into the present but used different focus and practices. Welsh practices also survived. So far you assumptions seem to be drawn from a singular area.

    The Full Moon celebrations are called Full Moon and the Sabbaths are called Festivals.

    Here I would disagree as well. Moon's had names, ie harvest moon, hunters moon, blood moon, etc. The names many times indicating the ceremonies and rituals that would be observed and honored. Events that would be local / regional and even theartre (large area) with the potential to have great variance in each area.

    I think your also confusing the notion of a lunar calendar which preceded most solar calendars in usage. Many times aligned again to fertility and fecundity of the land, live stock, growing and planting seasons, etc. Some still being present today in such acts as blessing of the animals, blessing of the land, Maypole celebrations, etc.

    1: Do they have a god and goddess placed on their altars (note: I know that Traditional Witches don't believe in blending like Wiccans do). Let me know if I'm right or wrong.

    Growing up I never saw an altar or a particular diety associated with one. The land was the altar and the cycle of the wheel was what we were taught to watch and observe.

    I was rasied in a family trad that would be described almost as Blue Ridge Folk tradition. Yet I was also initiated into a Stregian type family tradition which honored Aradia but there were no altars in that one either.

    2: Now I know that they practice folk magic, which isn't the question. The question that I'm asking is that do they employ the same methods that their ancestors used which includes the witch ball, spirit houses, hexes, and curses.

    You've got to look at more than just the notions of one area. Each home was a spirit house in that ancestors were honored and wakes and such were held in them. Some having dinners to the dead at every meal, some places that only the spirits occupied, etc.

    Witch balls / jars took many forms. Glass jars that were filled with needles, nails, pins, urine and other items were common in some areas. Other areas the women would urinate around thier property to keep out unwanted things and people. Sometimes found in inner walls or around openings other times buried outside with multiple rings.

    Even hexes & curses differed. What was an excuse for one area would not even be considered for another. Then there was a difference between mountain folk traditions compared to flatland traditions. Part of the difference owing to the very difference in lifestyles of the two areas.

    Its like I know there was a considerable difference in custom and practice between the lowland Scots and Highland Scots. That not even taking into account the difference that was found between land practices and those seen used by maritine peoples.


    3: Why don't Traditionals like Wiccans? I mean if it hadn't been for Gardner then they wouldn't have the protection.

    Protection was always in the hidden nature of the practices. That and most didn't need to be protected unless they were deemed to be foul.

    4: Why is there so much fighting between Traditionals and Wiccans over things.

    I would have to say that goes to inner court and outer court practices and beliefs. that and the shake and bake notion that seems to be dominate in many practices today.

    5: Do Traditionals view their tools the same as Wiccans, meaning the ritual knife is it used for recreating the great rite or is it, like I've read, used for other things including long-distance magic and I believe weather magic.

    Most traditionals I know use thier everyday tools, you prepared a meal then later used the same things for your crafting. My family always said it had more power and was known to the person. Kitchenwitches used thier kitchen tools, hedgewitches used their field tools, shamanic practioners used what was provided by the land.

    My grandfather was a dowser. Almost everytime I saw him dows he found a branch in the area he was to work. Occasionally he would simply take two coathangers and unwrap and use them. Once in a blue moon he would use two copper tubes that he used in his plumbing practice.

    6: What do they call their books that they write there information down?

    We didn't write it down. It was passed via word of mouth and began at an early age. If we did write things down it had no special name, just a journal or diary.

    7: Do all Traditionals go outside to do their rituals or do some of you stay indoors.

    That was always seasonial and reasonal in nature. Some outside, some inside. Fecundity of the land - outside, home and hearth - inside.

    8: Why were bones used in the first place and are they used today? If this is a repeat of another question then I'm sorry.

    The only ones in my family to use bones were those that aligned to the more shamanic practices. Then they were more aligned to power animals, guides, totems. Many times utilized the same as we would artifacts from any of the peoples of the earth, ie 2 legs, 4 legs, winged ones, green people, stone people, etc.

    9: Do Traditional witches wear a pentacle around their necks or are they secret about what they do.

    Can't speak for others but not in my family. You'd pretty much be riddiculed if you did back in the day. That plus the pentacle does not denote all pathways. I would not wear one for it is not associated to any facet of my pathwalk.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
    Well since no one has taken a shot at this i'll answer from my perspective anyways.

    Witchcraft is far more older than any religion. It's a pre-Christian practice.

    This is not competely true. I say that based upon the position that not all people would claim it as Witchcraft. What a lot today would lay at the door of Witchcraft would better be assigned as Animism, shamanic type traditions, Folk traditions, Cunning Folk, etc. Few of them actually recognizing the notion of Witchcraft.

    Historically one does not find witches one finds sorcerors, magicians of high esteem and folk practioners in rural settings. Its like Medea, today she is spoken of as a witch yet in the early records she is a sorsoress.

    Witchcraft practiced before Gardner dealt with helping both people and cattle and this included using witch balls, spirit houses, hexes, curses, knot magic, poppets stuck with pins (got this info from watching those video's about people that visited the witchcraft museum), blasted rods, and other things.

    Again not competely accurate. Poppets, Corn Dollies used in many folk traditions did not use Voodun / Santeria type usages of needles and pins. More often than not they were more harvest & fertility type usages and parts of ritual celebrations.

    Their hold and presence being more found in agro type cultures.

    Many times one might acutally align with the notion of color magics, white for good, black for evil and grey for personal practice.

    Witchcraft wasn't about light and love but about doing what was needed.

    It depended upon the practioner, the tradition they were part of and even the local they were in. Some were seen in a beneficial light, others as the source for foul deeds. Many times one seen as both.

    The witches that practiced witchcraft were the wise ones, the cunning folk.

    Again very debatable depending upon persception. It's like PowWow magics, they are based upon follore usage and were seen as cunning folks. Yet their whole practice built upon or around bible usage. Many folk traditions incorporating a blending of various local / religious beliefs and practices.

    To be a cunning person or one of many names didn't automaticaly make them witches. Nor did it make them seen in the light of being witches.

    Cornwall was the last strongholds of witchcraft due to the location. It was hard for the Church to go there when it was so far away and so hard to get to.

    That would seem on the surface to be only indicative of Cornwall. Highland Witchcraft survived long into the present but used different focus and practices. Welsh practices also survived. So far you assumptions seem to be drawn from a singular area.

    The Full Moon celebrations are called Full Moon and the Sabbaths are called Festivals.

    Here I would disagree as well. Moon's had names, ie harvest moon, hunters moon, blood moon, etc. The names many times indicating the ceremonies and rituals that would be observed and honored. Events that would be local / regional and even theartre (large area) with the potential to have great variance in each area.

    I think your also confusing the notion of a lunar calendar which preceded most solar calendars in usage. Many times aligned again to fertility and fecundity of the land, live stock, growing and planting seasons, etc. Some still being present today in such acts as blessing of the animals, blessing of the land, Maypole celebrations, etc.

    1: Do they have a god and goddess placed on their altars (note: I know that Traditional Witches don't believe in blending like Wiccans do). Let me know if I'm right or wrong.

    Growing up I never saw an altar or a particular diety associated with one. The land was the altar and the cycle of the wheel was what we were taught to watch and observe.

    I was rasied in a family trad that would be described almost as Blue Ridge Folk tradition. Yet I was also initiated into a Stregian type family tradition which honored Aradia but there were no altars in that one either.

    2: Now I know that they practice folk magic, which isn't the question. The question that I'm asking is that do they employ the same methods that their ancestors used which includes the witch ball, spirit houses, hexes, and curses.

    You've got to look at more than just the notions of one area. Each home was a spirit house in that ancestors were honored and wakes and such were held in them. Some having dinners to the dead at every meal, some places that only the spirits occupied, etc.

    Witch balls / jars took many forms. Glass jars that were filled with needles, nails, pins, urine and other items were common in some areas. Other areas the women would urinate around thier property to keep out unwanted things and people. Sometimes found in inner walls or around openings other times buried outside with multiple rings.

    Even hexes & curses differed. What was an excuse for one area would not even be considered for another. Then there was a difference between mountain folk traditions compared to flatland traditions. Part of the difference owing to the very difference in lifestyles of the two areas.

    Its like I know there was a considerable difference in custom and practice between the lowland Scots and Highland Scots. That not even taking into account the difference that was found between land practices and those seen used by maritine peoples.


    3: Why don't Traditionals like Wiccans? I mean if it hadn't been for Gardner then they wouldn't have the protection.

    Protection was always in the hidden nature of the practices. That and most didn't need to be protected unless they were deemed to be foul.

    4: Why is there so much fighting between Traditionals and Wiccans over things.

    I would have to say that goes to inner court and outer court practices and beliefs. that and the shake and bake notion that seems to be dominate in many practices today.

    5: Do Traditionals view their tools the same as Wiccans, meaning the ritual knife is it used for recreating the great rite or is it, like I've read, used for other things including long-distance magic and I believe weather magic.

    Most traditionals I know use thier everyday tools, you prepared a meal then later used the same things for your crafting. My family always said it had more power and was known to the person. Kitchenwitches used thier kitchen tools, hedgewitches used their field tools, shamanic practioners used what was provided by the land.

    My grandfather was a dowser. Almost everytime I saw him dows he found a branch in the area he was to work. Occasionally he would simply take two coathangers and unwrap and use them. Once in a blue moon he would use two copper tubes that he used in his plumbing practice.

    6: What do they call their books that they write there information down?

    We didn't write it down. It was passed via word of mouth and began at an early age. If we did write things down it had no special name, just a journal or diary.

    7: Do all Traditionals go outside to do their rituals or do some of you stay indoors.

    That was always seasonial and reasonal in nature. Some outside, some inside. Fecundity of the land - outside, home and hearth - inside.

    8: Why were bones used in the first place and are they used today? If this is a repeat of another question then I'm sorry.

    The only ones in my family to use bones were those that aligned to the more shamanic practices. Then they were more aligned to power animals, guides, totems. Many times utilized the same as we would artifacts from any of the peoples of the earth, ie 2 legs, 4 legs, winged ones, green people, stone people, etc.

    9: Do Traditional witches wear a pentacle around their necks or are they secret about what they do.

    Can't speak for others but not in my family. You'd pretty much be riddiculed if you did back in the day. That plus the pentacle does not denote all pathways. I would not wear one for it is not associated to any facet of my pathwalk.
    Thanks for correcting me, I really appreciated it. I was talking, in the book department, any good books about Traditional Witchcraft. Someone told me that the reason that they didn't write anything down is because most couldn't read and it would be a death sentence if you did. I also got the impression that it did depend on the family and how they did things. Your a doll, as always, and thanks.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekhmet Soul30 View Post
    Thanks for correcting me, I really appreciated it. I was talking, in the book department, any good books about Traditional Witchcraft. Someone told me that the reason that they didn't write anything down is because most couldn't read and it would be a death sentence if you did. I also got the impression that it did depend on the family and how they did things. Your a doll, as always, and thanks.
    Your probally correct in someways. A great many in the early years could not read or write so it had to be passed orally. That and many of the things were almost done in bardic fashion with song, lyric, etc. Heck even today there are still areas where cyphering (old usage) is rare and the elders are not that proficient at it.

    Think of old sailors and the songs and chanties they used to raise sail and such and keep timing in the process. Think of many childrens rhymes and such as they keep certain beats adn even years later how an adult can hear them and break into the words and meter of the lyric.

    Go back even farther and its not only about ability to read / write but also ability to get something to write on. Many people forget the development of paper and the expense that was associated with in. The typical 8.5 x 11 page of today was long in coming. In the early years people simply turnt the letter over and wrote on the other side.

    In Shakesperian times the size of a page was large and people would fold the paper into halves or forths. Then it became not only a matter of reading & writing but understanding the way the sheet was folded and the order of writing upon the various sides.

    I'm not so sure it would be a death sentenance to have one. Might shed some unfavorable light upon you. Words were said to have power and energy. To have the ability to write them was to capture that energy and command it. Sort of like knowing a things true name was to give you power over it.

    In areas where illeteracy was high, it gave you power over your neighbors. Many times inspired by presumption of them doing something to you. The evil eye and things were visible things that one could see and understand to some degree.

    Given the rarity of things and the cost to find some random sheet of paper on your property could only mean someone was doing something against you. Granted the notice tree, notice boards or general stores were expected to have random sheets but not your run of the mill area.

  5. #5
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    So do you know any good authors that write books on Traditional Witchcraft, MonSno_LeeDra?

  6. #6
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    Most books I've been directed to in my study of 'Traditional Witchcraft' have been on history and folklore. And practical information about my local flora/fauna and ecosystem, etc.

    As far as rituals and spellwork go, I've found it helpful if you choose a culture to explore it within. I have Anglo-Saxon, Scottish and Welsh ancestors, so I started looking into Cornish and Welsh TW.

    The Pagan Bookwork has a nice list to start with if you're interested in reading some books...

    http://paganbookworm.com/book-lists/traditional-witchcraft/

    Cunning Folk And Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions In Early Modern British Witchcraft And Magic by Emma Wilby and Peter Paddon's A Grimorie for Modern Cunning Folk are two books I've read recently and found very helpful!



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eardcwen View Post
    Most books I've been directed to in my study of 'Traditional Witchcraft' have been on history and folklore. And practical information about my local flora/fauna and ecosystem, etc.

    As far as rituals and spellwork go, I've found it helpful if you choose a culture to explore it within. I have Anglo-Saxon, Scottish and Welsh ancestors, so I started looking into Cornish and Welsh TW.

    The Pagan Bookwork has a nice list to start with if you're interested in reading some books...

    http://paganbookworm.com/book-lists/traditional-witchcraft/

    Cunning Folk And Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions In Early Modern British Witchcraft And Magic by Emma Wilby and Peter Paddon's A Grimorie for Modern Cunning Folk are two books I've read recently and found very helpful!

    I'll add that to the list. Someone also directed me to a book called 'Mastering Witchcraft.' Forgot who the author was but 13moons has it.

  8. #8
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    I should also ask what do you guys think of Popular Magic: Cunning-folk of English History by Owen Davies. Is that a good book or a bad one?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekhmet Soul30 View Post
    So do you know any good authors that write books on Traditional Witchcraft, MonSno_LeeDra?
    Truthfully no. My degree is in history and Sociology so I read a lot of non-pagan written books, articles and research perspectives. Most Pagan authors I tend to take at less than face value, I sort of have a thing about people telling me what someone or something was doing when they've never been there or seen what they are writting about.

    I recall this big debate I saw on what the ancient Greeks must have though about at sea. The person was basing all thier position on the UPG and articles they read. I was basing mine on actually having been there and seen the islands, the volcanoes being spoken of and the difference between coastal waters and the more off shore places.

    In all honestly I would say just read everything and anything. Read the book that supports your position but also read the book that counters it. History, Archeology, biology, anthropology, zooloogy, etc read all of it for all of it holds facets and keys to the larger picture.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
    Truthfully no. My degree is in history and Sociology so I read a lot of non-pagan written books, articles and research perspectives. Most Pagan authors I tend to take at less than face value, I sort of have a thing about people telling me what someone or something was doing when they've never been there or seen what they are writting about.

    I recall this big debate I saw on what the ancient Greeks must have though about at sea. The person was basing all thier position on the UPG and articles they read. I was basing mine on actually having been there and seen the islands, the volcanoes being spoken of and the difference between coastal waters and the more off shore places.

    In all honestly I would say just read everything and anything. Read the book that supports your position but also read the book that counters it. History, Archeology, biology, anthropology, zooloogy, etc read all of it for all of it holds facets and keys to the larger picture.
    Thanks, I agree with you. There is a big different between reading it and seeing it.

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