Pagan, Wiccan or Witch???

Today I wanted to share a little more about some of the things I do on a daily basis (or as close as possible) regarding my beliefs and practices.  However, I realized that before I delved into that perhaps a discussion and personal breakdown of the concepts out there was in order.

Often the three words above are used synonymously.  While most of us who live the life understand those outside don’t know the difference, there are those who become highly indignant or offended when someone refers to them as one of the others. While I am not one of those, I felt that, before I could begin talking about my own practice, I need to clarify what each of them entails and holds.

First, let’s start with some simple definitions (from The Celtic Connection):

Wicca:   A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes.

Witch:   A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This term has nothing to do with Satanism.

Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism:   General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems.

So, as you can see each of these has some overlap, and yet is unique in its own right.  I will try to expand a little bit in regards to Sacred Mists as a school as well as to my own practice.  I want to start by saying that one of the things I like most about Sacred Mists, is that while they do follow a traditional Celtic base, they allow their students the freedom and flexibility to follow their own beliefs as well.

Now, on to a deeper definitions so to speak.  Wicca:   A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. The Modern Wiccan Tradition is attributed, usually, to Gerald Gardner.  He was initiated into a traditional coven and then began supplementing with other “non-traditional” belief systems (Free Masonry, writings of Alastair Crowley and others).  While he claimed to stay true to the traditional pre-Christian beliefs, he supplemented the traditional pagan beliefs creating Modern Wicca.  Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes. All of this holds true for Sacred Mists as well as within my personal belief.  In addition, the Goddess and God are embodiments of all Goddesses and Gods as well as Mother Earth and Mother Moon. So there isn’t any single deity focus.  All historical beliefs and “religions” are called upon depending on  your need, desire, want, area of focus.  Celtic, English, Norse, Egyptian, Japanese…all Gods and Goddesses become available to you. 

Witch:   A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. So this is where it can get sticky.  There are many Wiccans who use natural items in their practice, but don’t necessarily consider themselves a Witch. I, however, am not one of them.  I use stones, candles, water, food, herbs, colors and even nature itself on a regular basis in my daily practice of the craft.  I am a Witch and I will stand by that.   It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This is often where those who practice, or don’t, get offended.  There are many Wiccans who are not Witches, and there are some Witches that are not Wiccan (that is their belief is not necessarily that of following the Rule of Three, or of staying within the boundaries of “white magick”).  This term has nothing to do with Satanism. The last sentence is by far one of the most important.  There is nothing Satan related in Wicca or Witchcraft.  One has to believe in the conventional idea of “Satan” before there can be any relation to him. This is not to say all Witches are good and work only for the good of all.  There are many who practice beyond the scope of what is Grey or White magick.  However, their belief is that what they are doing may be the right things. 

Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism:   General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Here are all the sticky widgets.  You DO NOT have to be Wiccan to be Pagan.  There are many other traditions that you could follow that make you Pagan.  Often people will refer to themselves as Pagan as general term that allows those who aren’t sure of the definitions to understand they don’t follow a modern religion.   Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems. The link here is back to the Nature Based Religions and Beliefs.  Those that are not necessarily monotheistic and have no single deity that is worshipped. 

I hope that these help you understand some of the overlap as well as some of the differences.  I think these are important to see and be able to reference prior to reading about specific rituals, practices or ideas.

 

Hugs and Love

 

While binge watching Grimm on Amazon and Playoff Football on network TV (with antennae) I managed to get 90% of my kitchen re-organized and cleaned. The coffee mugs and spices cupboard are left to organize and the stove top is left to clean. Anyone who knows me is aware of what a Herculean task this was. My oldest step-son came out of his cave for sustenance, blinked and said ” we have counter space, everywhere”. I responded “let’s try to keep it that way” to which of course I received a blank stare back.

I also made super yummy homemade mac and cheese on Saturday and a great smelling chicken tortilla casserole on Sunday. Now I’m set to meal plan for the week and try to get to the grocery store. That may be tomorrow though. We have plenty of leftovers and my youngest son has a concert for choir this afternoon.

Oh in cleaning I managed to sell multiple appliances for which I will get 1 appliance that replaces them all. So more space in general. This is super exciting. Once I get my new appliance I will have one more single serve blender I can sell.

As someone who loves to practice kitchen witchery I am always relieved when I purge and clean. However, I suck at keeping it that way and then I get overwhelmed. So what are your tips for keeping a kitchen that regularly feeds 5, and has maybe 2 that clean it, clean? Let me know because I could use the tips. I am thinking that in a few months I may want to hire someone that comes every other week to help with bathrooms and general cleaning. Do you have an outside house keeper?

I am most excited because with the kitchen the way it is right now I can also get, a water garden and start growing my herbs again. That was the major motive behind cleaning it as thoroughly as I did. Hydroponic Gardens for the kitchen are super fun and easy and fresh herbs are the best. Do you have one? If so do you love it? What brand is it? Pros and cons?

Okay. Off to check the casserole and get ready for the concert. May your weekend be blessed.

Crystals…

or rocks as my husband calls them.

Anyone else have a passion/obsession for collecting the most gorgeous nature made products on the planet?  I am sitting at my desk at school while the kids take a test and I realized I have 1/4 of my desk filled with different crystals that work well for classrooms.

Let’s start with the obvious one.  Selenite.  I have an 18″ non-polished rod of it sitting across the front of my desk.  Why?  Well it is great for helping students focus.  The properties of Selenite include: adaptability, calm, clarity, communication, emotions, harmony, respect and peace (Sandra Kynes, Complete Book of Correspondences). I love this mineral so much that at the next gem and rock show I am going to get small pieces to give to every student to have with them.  In my house all my kiddos have some on their desks and in their backpacks.  I give them polished pieces that they can “fiddle” with which of course is two-fold.  It keeps them busy without being disruptive and it gives them all those great energies.

I also have smoky quartz on my desk. Again, for anyone who knows, it would seem obvious.  It has some of the same qualities with regard to calm and mood, but it also purifies and keeps negative emotions to a lesser amount (Kynes). It also helps students see past obstacles and keep a nice balance in the room.  Hmmm… I may need a bigger piece this term.

I have some amethyst for balance and harmony and generally clear minds and good communication.  I have some regular quartz, for keeping everything else cleansed and ready to work.  I have some emerald, some ruby, and some tourmaline to keep mind, body and emotions in balance.

I have kyanite to help get rid of anxiety and to again work with clarity of communication.  I have some labradorite for confidence and balance and I have some lepidolite for concentration and focus.  In addition, I have some miscellaneous pieces that I have picked up on my travels and shopping trips that I just liked or that had a good feel to them.

None of the major pieces are small, I let the kids come up and “play” with them when they want, but they aren’t allowed to take them.  I do have some small quartz pieces that I give out for anxiety when needed or if a student needs something to occupy their hands while they are reading or discussing in class.  Those they can keep, as I replenish anytime I go to a rock/gem show.

The good news is that is just my desk at work.  LOL.  At home every windowsill, every door jamb, the altar, the tables next to the altar, pretty soon the night stand and any other available surface is covered as well.  Pink Quartz at the entrance to the house and any rooms as well as Selenite in the kid’s rooms and other fun things keep the house feeling pretty good most of the time. Our mantle is generally covered with some amazing rocks we found at a rock yard, quartz and citrine laden and of course the fairy cat candle holders.  Over all we have a tremendous collection. So much so in fact, that we are getting two barristers shelves from my parents to keep collecting and showing off.

My purse has a fairly large “travel” collection too.  With my studies at Sacred Mists I have had to create this travel collection.  In both the first and the second degree courses there are intense lessons on crystals, their meanings and the ones that speak to you as well as the ones everyone should carry in general.  During both courses I created a travel pouch and have since discovered that I love having them with me at all times.  Anytime I am nervous or need a fidget tool I just reach in and grab a stone.  I never look, as I figure I will grab what I need to help with the moment.  So far, that has worked great!

What stones do you like? Do you carry them with you?  Is your house full of things to help the energy flow?  Where else do you think they would help?  Do you have any suggestions for me to add to my school collection?