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Phaedra

What makes it Traditional to you?

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Hedging definitions around umbrella terms is tricky business, and the concept of Traditional Witchcraft is no exception. Like with "reconstrictionist" and "pagan", a great many things fall under the purview of trad craft, and many of these things are also shared with New Age, mysticism, and ceremonial magical systems. As my own understanding of what is and is not "traditional" evolves, I wanted to open the floor here for discussion---I'm quite curious to hear about how other practicioners who identify their path as Traditional came to that understanding of it, as opposed to any other label or identifier that could have been applied. Of course, opinions on this are going to vary, and will differ to an incredible degree at times to the point of stark contradiction even, but witches are typically an open-minded bunch while also being sharply discerning. 

 

Some specific questions that I've had rolling around...

 

Witchcraft and religious expression are often said to be inherently separate, though there are paths generally deemed to be examples of Traditional Witchcraft which include in their mysteries a reverence for one or more gods or goddesses. Where do traditions such as Feri, the clan of Tubal Cain, and other theistic expressions of the craft reside in your understanding of Trad Witchcraft?

 

I have noticed that Trad Witchcraft paths often include ancestral reverence and the travel to the upper and especially the under-worlds as defining features of their way, and often a dividing line between Trad and New-Age systems. Do these practices have a central place in your own personal definition of what it means to be Trad?

 

Where do traditional practices end and ceremonial magic begin? Can ceremonial magical traditions also be a form of traditional witchcraft? If informal deeds such as knot magic, jar magic, and foot track magic are folk practices, does that mean that they are thusly Tradfitional Witchcraft? If so, is laying a circle/compass and utilizing the classical elements veering away from Trad? 

 

...That last one was a question-combo, sorry!

Edited by Phaedra
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I only have my personal relationships to draw on & the "conversion-experience" that drew me to investigate earth energies, and which led from there to Wicca, and from Wicca to Trad WC to get my answers. I was coming from a background of Spiritism, Theosophy & Christianity.

 

Very briefly: I'd been walking my dog when a huge V- formation of geese flew over. I'd felt the ground roll beneath my feet with a force like repelling magnets. Then a jolt of energy passed thru me from feet-to-head & catapulted me Out-of-body (OOB) in a backflip. Next thing I knew, I was so high up that i saw the hazy curvature of the earth. Then looking down & back past the geese i saw bluish, fairly straight lines of light crisscrossing the ground & "knew" the geese were following them. Like Whoa! I'd had OOBEs before but that was the fastest exit I'd ever done. To come down I thought of my dog - a one-ear up beagle; that made me smile just before I slam-dunked back in my body. There were some profound minutes of readjustment with helpful little-voice commentary, and in particular a new awareness of Earth as a consciousness. It was a turning-point experience.

 

A few years of research later, after I'd read about WC circle casting, I found circles helped me learn to tap & raise the power I'd felt under my feet which had jolted me OOB. In that way, a circle is part of a natural-style magical path. Where the geo-lines converge i sense that the earth energy spirals & understood this as why it is symbolized as a snake, as well as the slithery-motion under foot. I needed to know the full significance of that spontaneous experience like I needed to breathe to live.

 

I'm just one person having one little OOBE, but I've imagined the event that had caused that particular OOBE as what a struggling, post ice-age humanity may have experienced in relating to the life-force of the planet as mother/father, teacher & deity in one. At the time I'd not even heard of witchcraft or Ley-lines & had no interest in Neolithic culture & had never paid any attention to bird migrations. That all came later. All I knew was that I needed to know what the force was that had propelled me OOB & what the lines were & how migrating geese knew about them but I didn't.

 

It took me a few more years playing with circles to connect the blue earth lines i'd seen while OOB to the lines i saw when I'd be in the dream state & traveling with my guide to go visiting teachers & attend lectures; and to relate it to similarities with the "personal energy signature" cords i visually see that link spells to their Crafters & which can be followed back to their source like winding up a ball of knitting yarn. Those are experiences I'd had and eventually after a wide variety of reading I've found references to them in old WC trial records and modern shamanism. All these stumbled-upon experiences were one-by-one building my concepts of what is natural, common & shared. And by extension, these form a base of what becomes traditional in a culture.

 

So getting to the point of what makes something traditional: to me the word "traditional" depicts knowledge of natural forces connecting to the life-pulse of earth. This knowledge helped mankind survive whatever the cataclysm(s) were that brought the various ice ages. My interest has been in that one-thread of life-force or Holy River that I'd experienced in multiple ways thru Spiritism, Theosophy, Christianity & culminated in that experience of being catapulted OOB. It seems every esoteric school has some reference to the "river" varying in levels of meaning from a natural telluric geo-force to a silver cord connecting spirit to body, to a series of symbols of hereditary occult teachings passed thru history & Akashic lore, to an ancestral bloodline. The "traditional" knowledge was coded in symbolism for oral teaching. To me at any rate things like ley lines, a Crafter's energy signature, the silver cord of OOBEs & the various symbols & forms of the River are related at their core, in the sense of as above, so below a repeating template or pattern of creation. The pattern is the Tradition in the Big Picture.

 

I see Feri, Tubal Cain, Roebuck and other such groups as having rediscovered &/or pieced together remnants from the teachings of cultures that knew these traditional patterns. Indigenous cultures still teach them thru use of hallucinogens according to the anthropologists who've been amongst them. I can easily accept that im not my body & that I am spirit, because of the OOBEs. It's not rocket science but it's a crazy quilt composite. Theologies all have a portion of the pattern depicted in their story as it formed their local region's perspective. Everyone's got a section of the orange but nobody has the whole orange. As a planet we have not yet put all the pieces together.

 

In spite of the "red thread" or hereditary river, ancestral veneration is not a focus of my connections but spiritism is. I only use the world-tree, three-realms as concepts in talking to others for a common reference ground. I think more in terms of multi dimensional, and inter-dimensional.

 

The repeating pattern of connecting to the geo life-force is the "tradition" as I'd experienced it & not how it's ritually dressed out & portrayed from one era or culture to another. I see a common theme in all western occult schools and practices of magic and prayer as being the means to the life-force. Connecting to the life force brings awakening as spiritual & genetic evolution. Shamanic spirit travel, Ceremonial/Hermetic rising thru the planes, Christian indwelling of the Holy Spirit, operative magic (root work, folk magic) all cover the same ground. It's the same actor in different costumes. Maybe I'm just stating the obvious?

 

I'd call a set of ritual actions "traditional" if the Crafter engaged in a form of veneration of ancestors to guide the family/tribe (or some spiritist equivalent), exchanged spirit pacts to insure mutual accountability (or at least made offerings to the telluric forces or Land Spirits), used spirit travel for healing, divination & teaching, maybe used a staff to call up earth energies & give the rising power something to ride on so you didn't get thrown OOB unless you meant to (like teasing a snake with a stick so it climbed the stick instead of biting you), and if they did a spiral or circular repetitive motion to summon & direct the energies being raised. The skill of the "craft" is in balancing those acquired energies to cause change in accord to will. Above all the Earth is an intelligent Being to be respected in partnership.

Edited by Zombee
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Ok, I'll do my best to answer your questions,

 

Theistic expressions of Trad Witchcraft I would say have a place for those that need or want such a system, but witchcraft itself is not relient on a theistic worldview. I think the majar difference between Trad Theistic Witch Groups and Wiccan groups, is that in Wicca it is never explained that you can be a witch without the religious aspects. Whereas in the aforementioned groups it is stressed that the religious aspects are not tied to witchcraft. I hope that makes sense.

 

Ancestral Worship has no place in my mind or in what I do, I don't see the point in giving such a high honor to the deceased, especially when I don't even really know who they are, at some point they are just strangers. I also don't feel a strong connection to my personal ancestory as I view it as happenstance that I was born at a certain time from a ceratin lineage. I may remember my grandmothers fondly (I had no grandfathers) but I don'y consider that worship. As far as the ancestors of the land, again, I have no real connection to them either as I am not Native American, though my family can be traced to the late 1600s in America I don't feel tightly connected to the land itself. I do have respect for them and the Native Americans that lived on the land before me, but I don't consider it worship nor do I do anything particular to give them special greedence. 

 

I do travel between worlds, though to me the upper and lower worlds are akin to different dimensions, I do travel often. 

 

Ceremonal magic is a form of Trad Craft if we mean it to mean anything that is going back before Wicca. I consider Ceremonal Magick to be part of the Trad Witchcraft family, though I'm sure some would disagree with me on both sides of the fence. It is only by studying Trad Craft that I have come to this conclusion, before I thought the two had very little in common, but I am finding out that they have much more in common than different. 

 

I would also consider folk magical practices apart of Trad Craft becuse they too go back before Wicca and therefore fit the bill.

 

I wouldn't say Compass rounds are veering away from Trad Craft since they have been used for a while, Ceremonial Magick has been using such devices, if read the works of John Dee such devices are used and it is suggested that the use of circles may even go back to Babylon, if that be the case then I would say it's Trad all the way. Even if it doesn't, it does go back at least to the 1600s which I would still consider Trad.

 

The one thing that people should keep in mind is that Trad Craft should not be stuck in the past, something that I feel happens when people try to pin down what something is and isn't. Ultimately Trad Craft takes note of what was done in the past and adapts it to our modern day, thus the link between past and present is made but improvements should not be shunned either. 

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These are interesting answers. I think, for me, Traditional Craft has to be rooted in the past though not stuck in it (as said by Ozman) and include spirit work - which Wicca often seems to duck. I think a less distinct view of 'black' and 'white' magick is also important, so not going for only 'love and light' in a watered down unrealistic way, but accepting love can kill and poison and light can burn, in the same way that darkness can comfort and is where life is made and shadows can be as mundane but amazing as simply helping us tell the time. Also a connection to the land and the spirits or power in it and the ability to direct that to change situations. These things together create a style that feels traditional to me.

 

Certain types of ceremonial magick can fit this and I agree with Zombee about the crazy quilt composite. I also believe because we are all so inherently different we all need these different expressions of truth and so the traditional forms we see in Feri etc. relate to that. The theism doesn't make or break traditional witchcraft, or it would not exist so strongly and differently in varying cultures. Circles and so on do not either, in England we do have a strong history of circle use. However, I would say the difference comes in the understanding so using the circle to connect to the different realms is more likely to be seen in traditional craft comparatively to using it because it is what is done and what you've been told to do. If you don't use a circle then I don't think it takes away from calling yourself a traditional witch.

 

I think ancestral work comes under spirit work and it isn't a must for traditional witchcraft in itself, though I feel spirit work is, but it may be someone connects and works with spirits of trees or water rather than blood ancestors. Completely agree with Zombee regarding the skill being in balancing aquired energies to cause change according to will - brilliantly put, Zombee.

 

I think one of the reasons it is hard to define is that we are all at different points and, as it is often solitary or in smaller groups, it is quite dependant on personal views.

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This has been a really useful post, I connect far more readily and effectively with plants than ancestral spirits, it is so personal to each path. When I read the original post, one of Terry Pratchetts notiins from one of the witches books sprung to mind, that believing in gods is like believing in the kitchen table - you know they are there but religion doesn't come into it. That's my perspective anyway :)

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I do believe that folk magic and Native American practices can be considered Trad Witchcraft. They are very in touch with the spirit, not necessarily to the point of worship, but more of a respect. I am mostly Native American, but wasn't raised as such. I was raised African American, but recently I've been getting in touch with my Native American side. Since I opened up to this side of myself, I do feel a connection to the land and nature in general. I also feel more in touch with Spirits, and understanding that Spirits are everywhere. The feeling is hard to describe. It feels more Traditional and Ancient... maybe earthy, if that makes sense. It just feels right to me. That being said, if Native American practice is considered Trad Witchcraft, then yes religion is mixed with it. Again, it is more like respect than worship, though, when it comes to the religious aspect. As far as ancestral reverence goes, I don't have that. I'd say I'm more curious than anything, especially when it comes to my Native American ancestors. I'd simply like to know more about them and learn from them, if I can. I do not, however, treat them or think of them as divine entities that need my devout attention. I really liked this discussion.

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Re: how long have cast or ritual circles been in vogue ... The multiple ritual circle complex at Gobekli Tepi, Turkey is the oldest found so far & dates back 13,000 years which is about 5,000 years before any rock temple inscriptions in Iraq-area (brain fart - I can't remember the civilizations to credit 'em) according to Graham Hancock. The carvings at Gobekli Tepi might depict the comet strike that brought on the last ice age. So it's been a while.

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I would love to go to Gobekli Tepi, it is a fascinating site. I wonder how many ancient sites are yet to be found? With the use of LYDAR soon we will find many more.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the actual acronym. But it is a radar that can penetrate through trees to see the shapes underneath.

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To me, what's traditional is what I was raised with and expanding from there. I've mentioned this before, but I come from a family of traditional healers. Much of what I know of the craft, I learned from them. Even though they're strict Southern Baptists, that practice has always been separate from religion to them. Sure, they might have prayed with whoever they were healing, just for a little extra divine help, but the actual practices of folk medicine and herbalism were not faith based.

 

Instead, they were based in an understanding of the land and the resources it could provide. The *only* theistic element might have been looking at these as God-granted resources (given the time period, it's likely, though I've not heard accounts of it), but the work itself was not religious. The actual title was handed down oldest daughter to oldest daughter, but all the girls would learn growing up. Some of them married into nearby towns and practiced there. And starting there, working with that healing practice that's been handed down for at *least* 400 years and branching outward into Spirit work and really gaining a deeper understanding of nature as a whole, that to me is what makes this traditional.

 

But, as has been mentioned already, it's important to acknowledge that this isn't static. It's changed over time and I've changed it myself, since I live primarily in a much colder climate than the relatives I learned from and so work with different plants some of the time. That doesn't make it any less traditional. It's more sort of "tradition+".

Edited by songlore

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I think that Traditional suggests not only time, but place as well.

Every location has it's own energy qualities and the ability to recognize and benefit from them is something that only comes with time and practice, often over generations of dedicated observance.

This puts 'Traditional' in a more subjective category allowing many practices to remain so.

Let us put a Siberian shaman in the Mexican desert and ask her to perform a healing.  Without a doubt, she will succeed BUT her resources will be limited by knowledge of the local spirits, plants, crystals, animals etc.

The same would occur if you took a Oaxacan bruja and asked her to expel a nasty spirit in Manitoba.

Traditional is the refined and mastered practice by one who knows their surroundings and is a part of them.

This offers the potential of unlimited expression.

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I think that Traditional suggests not only time, but place as well.

...[snipped for length]

Traditional is the refined and mastered practice by one who knows their surroundings and is a part of them.

This offers the potential of unlimited expression.

 

I agree with this 100%. My personal belief is that our power/energy derives in large part from having a connection with the land.  I struggled for a long time because I thought I had to connect with the land using the same means as others of my bloodline might have used in the past.  The problem for me was I couldn't make that same connection, because I don't live on that same piece of earth. I realized a few years ago that I could (and probably should) have a much stronger connection with the land that I DO live on, and since then things have started to slowly fall into place.  

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When you go into the forest, you dress appropriately,  when you visit the seaside, you can expect to gather artifacts that would be unavailable in the desert.  Animal behavior is different in the mountains than in the plains.

 

With this thought, it is easy to open one's mind to the potential of immediate surroundings and utilize them to the fullest.

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To me traditioinal craft is something that is done in a specific way, and has been done so for a long period of time, thereby lending it energy and power. Also, if it has been done in such a way for aeons, then it is familiar to the energies of things (plants, spirits, what-have-you) and they will recognize it and know how to work with it and what you are trying to do with it. If you call an energy in a way it doesn't recognize, you may hook into it by luck, or you may not. Eventually, new age will become a tradition, too, although so many people do it so many different ways it will be a very soft-flowing tradition with a very limited reception (IMHO).

 

Ancestors to me are all important, if for no other reason than without them I would not exist and neither would any tradition. My path has been a very round-about one, and I am grateful to the ancestors on whose shoulders I stood and who brought me to where I am.

 

Witchcraft I see as a practice of doing something (like jogging is the practice of running, lol). Religion is a belief in a spiritual system and usually in a divinity. Often the two coincide and sometimes they do not. There are religions that recognize energies and therefore have no opposition to craft practices. There are religions where the divinities were involved in the craft. There are religions that don't believe in the craft. And there are religions that do believe in it but pretend it is "evil" so their followers have no power outside of the religion. 

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What a great thought-provoking topic.

 

Although I certainly learn(ed) a lot by watching and being around my mother, who has always been crafty, she was never witchy, and even though I am very open about my witchiness, and have asked her about herself, she has never once admitted, or come off to me as, witchy. For all I know, she has just kept that all top secret, but honestly, at this point, I think I would have gotten it out of her. Secular and normal, my family has always been. So, "traditional" for me doesn't mean anything about something that has been passed down, or taught to me, not by any humans, anyway, though I once I became old enough to research, I found many teachers, but for the most part, I felt my way through the dark, and still feel that way. As far as "being a part of a tradition" goes, I only feel like I can really say that about Astrology, and that is because I went through a formal school, and we were told about our tradition, welcomed to it, and taught a history course. I also am connected to Feri tradition, but, that is a self-initiating one, and, one that rarely agrees with itself, so I won't even go there. It's sort of a minefield, if the grenades were made of robin's egg blue glitter (oops).

 

"Traditional witchcraft" for me is "ancient." It is a tradition that goes beyond a "tradition" in the cultural sense, because it is something that exists in all cultures, and as I see it, the "red thread" unites us, regardless of if we actually are a part of something that is taught to us by forebears. It can be inborn, or a path stumbled upon. I think of traditional witchcraft as the way of being that we share that goes all the way back to our species' primal way of connecting with All That Is, a perception that for the most part has been filtered out of the majority of the populace, by thousands of years of culling, and also, by "society's conditioning," and those two phenomenon are connected, of course, which is a whole other topic.

 

I do think that the term is a little ambiguous, as anything can be a tradition. Of course I am a poet and wordsmith so I am going to point that out. It's sort of like, ok, well, what do you mean by "tradition?" Tarot is a tradition in itself, for example, but is used by witches of many traditions. Likewise with Astrology, also with many VASTLY different traditions within it! Of course not everyone that practices Astrology or Tarot fancies themself a witch of any variety, but I am just making a point here. Obviously people who are initiated by family, or later on, into a specific tradition, may have a different experience, and feel like they are most definitely a part of a certain witchcraft tradition. I personally like the term "Old Ways" but that is also vague, and apparently it's a term used widely in Wicca, isn't it, so amongst other Witches that could also be misunderstood. Though I am not as offended by being considered Wiccan as some are. In my opinion it is not worth it to have to explain the difference to non-witchy folk, so if someone wants to think I'm Wiccan, fine by me. I even say Blessed Be ;) So now that I think about that, I can see where the term "traditional" comes from, because, it refers to pre-Wiccan.

 

Traditional Witchcraft is something very primal and ancient that is programmed into our DNA and remembered by the spirit and soul of the person, and a gift from the Gods. It is an inborn talent, or skill set (could be both, certainly). That is how I see it.

Edited by phantasmagoria

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What makes it traditional to me, is incorporating timeless aspects of the craft that we haven’t been able to improve on while adopting modern techniques as well. Leather workers still use rib bones to tan hides, and it’s been done that way for literally thousands of years. And as with leather working I believe there are some techniques and tools that are equally timeless.

 

I believe circles and compasses are timeless, as are knots and cartomancy. But I do incorporate crystals and semi precious stones into my craft as well even though it could be considered new age. Back then we didn’t have access to a large selection of crystals and stones that could be purchased online and delivered to your door, but I take my boons where I find them. If my witchy ancestors had access to some of the things I do, I’m sure they would’ve gladly used them.

 

Traditional looks to tie timeless aspects of our past with the benefits of the modern age. I’m okay with new age stuff, as long as it works.

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What makes it traditional to me, is incorporating timeless aspects of the craft that we haven’t been able to improve on while adopting modern techniques as well. Leather workers still use rib bones to tan hides, and it’s been done that way for literally thousands of years. And as with leather working I believe there are some techniques and tools that are equally timeless.

 

I believe circles and compasses are timeless, as are knots and cartomancy. But I do incorporate crystals and semi precious stones into my craft as well even though it could be considered new age. Back then we didn’t have access to a large selection of crystals and stones that could be purchased online and delivered to your door, but I take my boons where I find them. If my witchy ancestors had access to some of the things I do, I’m sure they would’ve gladly used them.

 

Traditional looks to tie timeless aspects of our past with the benefits of the modern age. I’m okay with new age stuff, as long as it works.

 

Although crystals are popular in "new age," they are IMO so traditional it isn't funny! Well, think about it: they are older than anything on the planet, that is for sure. And they have been used as talismans in almost every culture imaginable, for as long as can be remembered... King Solomon, for instance, in Christian lore, was a huge crystal freak (though I am sure he wouldn't have used that terminology LOL). I have been working with crystals since I was a little girl. They were certainly my first "witchy" modality. As the decades have passed, I find that they are so ancient that it isn't even fathomable. I also find it notable that they are beings created in total darkness, and extreme heat and pressure: in other words, "hell realm." So, not as fluffy as one may think. Yet, that is exactly why they are so beautiful and so powerful, also. I do find that the New Age community has been a real boon for crystal freaks like us. I have learnt a lot from the materials out there now, and I love that I can order basically any stone from anywhere in the world.

 

Have you ever mined your own, FancyShadowCat? I just started doing that this year, and I have to say, it is so rewarding. The Earth literally feeds crystals to the hands. I have experienced it first-hand: when they manifest, they can literally come out of nowhere, out of the dust. It is amazing. Of course much of the time it is hard labor or even dangerous, but I have seen children pick great specimens up right by their feet at the border of a quarry before. Of course children, with purer hearts than most, are more likely to find crystals than your average adult.

Edited by phantasmagoria

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I haven’t read through all of the responses, but I did practice ceremonial magic for a minute, and I can tell you what the difference between the two means to me from a practical perspective.

 

Ceremonial magic is basically saying...”If I perform this “x” way...I’ll potentially be able to influence “y”...via the grace of outside factors.

 

Traditional Witchcraft to me is saying...”I AM “x”, which means “y” is an extension of myself AS “x”.

 

At this point x=y as opposed to x being a factor in the outcome of y.

 

Stupid comparison...I don’t even like algebra...but I hope you understand what I mean haha.

 

Traditional is taking the folk magic of the past and integrating it into the present. I personally believe it’s based more on a spiritual hierarchy of ingredients and self; than a hierarchy of tangible external spirits and favors...which is why dual faith observances were so common in Europe. Also why folk magic is so potent now that we have a free exchange of information via the internet.

 

Witch means nothing...it’s a title that bored-ass housewives like to take in order to get Youtube views or instagram followers. It’s a self-proclaimed title that has become a boon for acceptance and a bane for real practitioners.

 

Craft is where it’s at. Taking different traditions and trying to create a practice that works for your own life.

 

I understand that “Traditional Witchcraft” is usually used to represent the post-modern types of craft that are represented in historical accounts of the witch-trials....but in all reality that’s bullshit. The records we have from that time are biased AT BEST. Emma Wilby and Ginsburg gave a great effort, but you can’t base a practice or a craft from such scattered records with such biased testimony or record keeping.

 

Traditional Witchcraft is the realization that reality is malleable, and the expectation that you are the main factor contributing to that movement.

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Although crystals are popular in "new age," they are IMO so traditional it isn't funny! Well, think about it: they are older than anything on the planet, that is for sure. And they have been used as talismans in almost every culture imaginable, for as long as can be remembered... King Solomon, for instance, in Christian lore, was a huge crystal freak (though I am sure he wouldn't have used that terminology LOL). I have been working with crystals since I was a little girl. They were certainly my first "witchy" modality. As the decades have passed, I find that they are so ancient that it isn't even fathomable. I also find it notable that they are beings created in total darkness, and extreme heat and pressure: in other words, "hell realm." So, not as fluffy as one may think. Yet, that is exactly why they are so beautiful and so powerful, also. I do find that the New Age community has been a real boon for crystal freaks like us. I have learnt a lot from the materials out there now, and I love that I can order basically any stone from anywhere in the world.

 

Have you ever mined your own, FancyShadowCat? I just started doing that this year, and I have to say, it is so rewarding. The Earth literally feeds crystals to the hands. I have experienced it first-hand: when they manifest, they can literally come out of nowhere, out of the dust. It is amazing. Of course much of the time it is hard labor or even dangerous, but I have seen children pick great specimens up right by their feet at the border of a quarry before. Of course children, with purer hearts than most, are more likely to find crystals than your average adult.

I haven’t even thought about trying to mine my own lol. I’m not much for risk taking, though I might have to eventually. But I can imagine how surreal it must be to find a crystal and realize you’re the first person to ever touch and get to know it. Also, it makes sense that crystals should be thought of as much more traditional than they are generally perceived to be.

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For me traditional is what ever feels right to me. If I don't vibe with an idea or practice I put it aside for now. I have always had to follow my instincts since I had such a conflicted childhood. My instincts have let me to hoard Crystals since I was a child. I didn't find out till I got older and started doing my research that the rocks and crystals I was collecting were boosting and protecting my psychic abilities. I believe I was drawn to them as a defense mechanism against my mother's inconsistent magical defenses. Nearly all of my stones and Crystals are locally found. I even found a quartz arrowhead while walking in The woods one day. I think the word traditional is not as important as how it feels to you as an individual. You are the tradition.

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Traditional to me, is something that's passed down a few generations. In regard to witchcraft, I think it's the same as other cultural elements like music, sport, folk traditions, e.t.c. Therefore, I would consider traditional witchcraft practises that predate the occult revival, and modern witchcraft. 

 

That  gets a little tricky with dealing with the likes of Cochrane's Craft (still just in my opinion) Though there are differences with modern witchcraft traditions like 'Traditional' Wicca(which I'd consider traditional if Tubal Cain is considered so, as the two are both very different from other modern traditions that they likely influenced), there are many similarities, and they likely came from the same sources (which are debatable). Feri I definitely would consider part of modern craft. There are some forms of ceremonial magic(k) I'd consider trad craft as well, as cunning folk were influenced by the grimoire tradition. A difference in social classes (historically) might define those. A cunning man with a grimoire might be practising something closer to trad craft than someone who is fortunate to have their own private ritual space, robes, and tools galore. Today, I think it also boils down to how the two are practised.  

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This is interesting topics and thank you for creating this!

 

Briefly If you haven't read my introduction, please do so Because it explains mostly about what I do. In my believes I don't really understand the concept of upper or under-world. But my belief is as such. Working with energies, I believe everything comes and goes to the same exact place. This whole energy creating all space filled with energy but each with their own consciousness. That is where all the divines and all us know which spirits is which. The energy itself is like what the nature course. It runs everywhere wherever they want the same with water, fire, earth, or wind. But yes all the energy has a certain path they follow. Our natural order follow the law of gravity and the  energy in our craft follow the law of intention. That where our work actually matters in my craft. We intended the whole path of energy to move in a certain direction, sometimes it's easy but sometimes it's difficult, depending on what our power to "move" the energy. I do believe in divinities, but then I believe divinities are created and has power because intention from several people creating that energy to be a higher being. 

 

As for the practices and ceremonial magic. The real question is do you do this in form of traditions? if you do it and teach you to your children then it is traditions. But I think the words can be used interchangeably. Because if you do your practice as a form of ceremony, then isn't it ceremonial magic? Try sabbath. What ceremony you use to celebrate it? Then it is both traditional and ceremony combining together. From my perspective using circle/compass and classical elements not veering away from your own Traditional practices if you do believe in that. Personally as an Asian, we use elements and compass as core of our practice. So does it mean that Asian shaman or witch is not Traditional witch? Isn't the true meaning is go back to the root of magic prior to Christianity and this whole acknowledged belief system?

 

So briefly, traditional witchcraft for me is where we work and try to understand how the past beliefs of our ancestors can be used in this modern day. It is crazy because it is two different things, because before people are really close to nature and observe the nature as what they see it and now we observe nature by also using the knowledge of science and how some natural phenomenon works. But all in all, I believe in the term of collective consciousness from psychology, which believes wherever you are, at least some of us think in similar way and also the sign from the energy shows us the way or the path of the craft which could be same for some people and different from some people. Imagine like a glass of water having this same molecules but with different personality, beliefs, and consciousness, and all this water having the same instinct to be water and to flow in a certain direction. I think that's how what is happening outside of this physical reality, all this energy are together yet singular. Anything that we do to understand, guide, and connect with this energy are actually what we call the craft itself in traditional witchcraft.

Edited by Strigid13
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I use the word "tradition" as an alternative to the word "path."  I don't use it in the sense that it means passed down through the generations, although I believe being "traditional" requires some adherence to the older ways. (Having knowledge passed down through the generations would be cool, but from what I can see, very few actually have that sort of resource to draw upon.)

 

I also use the label "tradition" as a way of differentiating what I do and believe from what Wiccans do and believe.  Common usage in many places seems to say that Wicca is Wicca, and other paths that honor older ways are called "Trads" - so that seems to be an acceptable way to communicate my non-Wiccan-ness to other folks.  

 

Is it correct?  Heck if I know.  But it is the best label I've found for what I do.  

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