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European vs American Witchcraft Practices

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#21 AngelValentin

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 08:02 PM

Well, I think it's been pretty well covered already, but because of the immigrant nature of the U.S. and the Americas, the magical practices are largely based on ancestral knowledge adapted to an entirely new continent.

I guess if I had to choose one word to encompass the magic of the Americas, it would be "adaptation." Some may disagree with me and claim that they practice a "pure" form of magic from their ancestral land, but I just don't see how that could be. The land itself has such a tremendous effect on all magical practices that I'm not sure you could perform a working in exactly the same way in England as one would in, say, Louisiana.

I live in Las Vegas, and my workings are specifically tailored to my area (and not even by design, just by accident and what's available to me most of the time -- It's not like I sat down one day and said, "Okay, today, I'm going to develop workings for the Las Vegan witch!). A lot of my practices come from a hoodoo rootwork background, but the ground beneath my feet is nothing like the lands around the Caribbean, so it's not the same.



I have to say that I agree with what you posted. Magical practices are affected in part at least by the area you're from. I remember posting another topic about places of power in magic and the same can be said about how practices are performed depending on location. I like the term you used "adaptation" to describe the way american magical practices have been influenced.

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#22 Nikki

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 02:47 PM

Playing Devil's Advocate here...

I agree that the land affects people and effects magic - but this can change within a mile/kilometer of your current location.

With the Internet, one can purchase anything from around the globe and have it shipped to ones door, if one really, really needed this item.

'Adaptation' isn't strictly an American a thing. (yes, I see what others are saying) Any witch from anywhere who moves to or visits another land would have to adapt to a new environment.

And, yes, there are many different ways to 'practice' magic BUT...

Magic is magic.

There are basic laws that spin the wheel and have spun the wheel for ages.

No matter where you're from vs. where you are now, those basic laws remain in place.

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#23 demetria

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 03:46 AM

For "American traditional craft", the practices that spring to my mind besides Native American practices are pow wow, hoodoo and voodoo.


There's also the Feri/Faery tradition (created by Victor and Cora Anderson starting in the 1940s). If you're unfamiliar, I recommend the following books:
The Heart of the Initiate: Feri Lessons by Victor Anderson
Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition by Cora Anderson
Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle

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#24 Jaesin

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 06:31 PM


Yes, his posts are very informative. Too bad he is not around anymore. :cry_witch:


When I was a full member back in 2011 (I took a step back for personal reasons - known as Zen Draegon then), I got to know blacksmith pretty well.  He is a Bokor, thus explaining his knowledge of the African Diaspora.  I was actively sharing my knowledge as a conjureman (Hoodoo) and he adn I would often ping off of one another.  I miss that guy!  He was a cool cat!


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#25 RavenFlyer

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 06:52 PM

When I was a full member back in 2011 (I took a step back for personal reasons - known as Zen Draegon then), I got to know blacksmith pretty well.  He is a Bokor, thus explaining his knowledge of the African Diaspora.  I was actively sharing my knowledge as a conjureman (Hoodoo) and he adn I would often ping off of one another.  I miss that guy!  He was a cool cat!

 

 

Welcome back Zen! I always enjoyed your posts, as well as those, of Blacksmith's. 


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#26 Jaesin

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 05:13 AM

Welcome back Zen! I always enjoyed your posts, as well as those, of Blacksmith's. 

Well thank you kindly.


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#27 aefre

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 04:38 PM

I really want to BUMP this thread, because I honestly do not believe that their are ANY differences.  The Craft came from all people in all places. 

 

From my understanding, for example, Hoodoo, came from people who were enslaved, and incorporated the European church into their beliefs.  Also, from my understanding, the European Pagans, had Xian beliefs incorporated into their religion, to make it more palatable to the 'changeover'.

 

There is no difference.

 

We all want the same things.  We all want PROTECTION, we all want LOVE, we all want MONEY LOL.

 

So, instead of looking for differences, or, looking towards the past, why don't we start looking towards the future.


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#28 lalinrises

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 05:27 PM

I really want to BUMP this thread, because I honestly do not believe that their are ANY differences.  The Craft came from all people in all places. 

 

From my understanding, for example, Hoodoo, came from people who were enslaved, and incorporated the European church into their beliefs.  Also, from my understanding, the European Pagans, had Xian beliefs incorporated into their religion, to make it more palatable to the 'changeover'.

 

There is no difference.

 

We all want the same things.  We all want PROTECTION, we all want LOVE, we all want MONEY LOL.

 

So, instead of looking for differences, or, looking towards the past, why don't we start looking towards the future.

 

 

When it comes to Hoodoo a lot of my understanding is that the slaves and subsequently former slaves, really had no choice but to incorporate christian beliefs, since practicing their own religion was illegal. Even congregating in large numbers was seen as a problem that would attract the attentions of police. In order for their own religion to survive they had to hide it in plain sight. 


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#29 Aria

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 02:04 PM

 

There is no difference.

 

We all want the same things.  We all want PROTECTION, we all want LOVE, we all want MONEY LOL.

 

So, instead of looking for differences, or, looking towards the past, why don't we start looking towards the future.

 

To be honest this is very much alike saying that all languages are the same, because we all want to communicate. Although languages may have similarities, they also have huge differences that make them unintelligible to each other. Yet they all use sounds and words to describe the same thing. 

 

Of course there are similarities in magical practices around the world, and they often turn around the same big themes. But that does not mean that all traditions of magic deal with the same staff, the same way. In my experience acknowledging these differences (and choosing to engage or not with them) is much more useful than just look at magical practices as one big mash-up of things. 


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#30 aefre

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 03:15 PM

@Ialinrises, "hiding in plain site" is the key.  In Europe, Christianity 'swept' in, but 'someone' realised that things couldn't change overnight, and, thus, incorporated Christianity into the native, pagan rituals/festivals.  Hence, people could still celebrate 'Ostara/Easter' and Yule/'Christmas'.  People were burned alive in Europe, if they didn't co-operate.  I really don't want to compare atrocities, there are, sadly, TOO MANY.  Thankfully, we, in the West at least, live in a world where we can all speak and practise our beliefs freely?! 


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#31 aefre

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 03:58 PM

@Aria, I firmly believe we are a mish-mash.  What I find interesting on this forum, is, so far, nobody has said anything that I haven't heard already, and I've been brought up with The Craft.  People may practise different areas, but nothing has surprised me yet.  My issue, is when people separate themselves, or belittle others. What is traditional witchcraft?  How far can anyone trace it back to? Where is the origin?

 

What I find fun, here, is to hear the thoughts of others.  I'm too old now to get stoned on flying 'ointments', but it's fun to hear what others do.  I don't contact strange spirits anymore, but it's interesting to hear of other peoples experiences.

 

And I do love the commonality of the English language.  It means that a great many people, from many, interesting parts of the world, can communicate with one another. I make a living out of teaching it! And, like it or not, it is the international language.

 

I just wish, that instead of separating ourselves from each other, we could just get together.

 

And have a big old, fuck off party at the back of the forum :)  :)  :)


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#32 Aria

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 07:13 AM

@Aria, I firmly believe we are a mish-mash.  What I find interesting on this forum, is, so far, nobody has said anything that I haven't heard already, and I've been brought up with The Craft.  

 

You may be surprised at how much people do not spill out about themselves on an internet forum :)

 

 My issue, is when people separate themselves, or belittle others. What is traditional witchcraft?  How far can anyone trace it back to? Where is the origin?

 

I don't think this is happening, is it? Luckily, we're years past witch wars and the 'mine is more ancient than yours' argument (although few people and far in between still seem to find value in that). 
To me 'How far can anyone trace it back to?' and 'Where is the origin?', as questions, are misleading. Personally, I didn't go about traditional witchcraft because I felt it was 'older' or somehow more 'authentic' than other paths. That's just the way my path naturally took 15 years ago, through a series of encounters and coincidences. 
I don't care how far back you can trace it, I care that the system of witchcraft that I learnt and developed upon works for me. I don't need a certificate of authenticity to validate my practice, practicing my practice is what validates it for me.

 

So, contrary to you, I do get surprised. One example for all, I am always astonished at how liberally people on this forum seem to use blood in their practice. The way I was thought, you do not spill blood that way, and we use it on few and very structured occasions. The day I won't be surprised anymore I'll retire from witchcraft I believe. 

 

As for the 'what is traditional witchcraft', I don't think this is the topic of the thread, but I find many people have many different answers. I personally dislike the 'trad craft is not wicca' argument, as it defines trad witchcraft for what it is not, rather than for what it is. To me traditional witchcraft is that for of the craft that develops on the long traditions of folk spirit workers, and it is often regionally specific. 

 

 

 

And I do love the commonality of the English language.  It means that a great many people, from many, interesting parts of the world, can communicate with one another. I make a living out of teaching it! And, like it or not, it is the international language.

 

 

I do love English, and as a foreign speaker I appreciate the beauty of the language. 
However, there are large parts of the world in which for thousands and thousands of mile you'll not find anyone speaking English. There are a lot of vehicular languages in the world. Native English speakers, in my experience, are those who are convinced they can get away with English anywhere - until they find themselves in pre-Sahealean West Africa with Dogon people and can't speak a work of arabic or French :) I also work in education for a living, and I can ensure you 'English as international language' is often more a problem than a resource. But we go off topic. 

Of course we should get together, but I am not conviced neglecting diversity is the best way to do that. 


Edited by Aria, 05 June 2016 - 07:14 AM.

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