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Witchcraft Spiritual Traditions and Cosmologies


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#1 sarasuperid

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:04 PM

I have noticed that many of the pre-wicca witchcraft traditions have spiritual lore and practices as a central aspect at least of what they share in their outer circle material.

Cultus Sabbati has the heretical Cain and Lilith lore
Feri has a family of god forms God Herself, the blue faced god, twins, and more
The Cornish Pellars have Old Lord Bucca

What do you think of that? Why do these traditions have that aspect?

Any other traditions I left out? I think a list like this might aid seekers in learning about some of the different witchcraft traditions.

I thought this would make an interesting topic for discussion

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#2 Michele

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:50 PM

I think that there are probably tons left out but it is hard to know them or if anyone still works them. Anywyere one goes in Europe and finds place-names of gods it is most likely their tradition was practiced in that geographical area at one time. Pertha, Holda, Frau Holle, Freyja, Habondia, Woden, Odhinn, etc., were all part of a specific tradition at one time that was practiced pre-Wicca and to the best of my knowledge pre-written lore.

Many of these traditions didn't have grimoires and wouldn't even know what that was. The grimoire is more of an occult practice and the local traditions would not have even seen what they do as traditions specifically, just the local belief that was passed down through oral lore and lived daily to the point where writing it down wouldn't be necessary. Lore of rites or worships was done, not written. Women worked with Freyja or Frigg for matters of birthing and it was just the accepted norm. Some families had guardian trees, and children grew up seeing and interacting with it - they were included in venerations and daily communications just as children today are taught bed-time prayers and "right living". It was a way of life and their view of the world. It was learned through daily living and stories told. This was the origin on many of the original fairy-tales. It's just a matter of deciphering their true meanings. Judiasm made up a small part of the population - especially in parts of Europe. There was no Christianity prior to Christianity. There were folk religions and they actually did exist. Some still do.

I'm not sure what you're looking for re "why do these traditions have these aspects?"... you mean why do they work with gods? Or why those specific gods?

M

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#3 Scylla

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:00 PM

What do you think of that? Why do these traditions have that aspect?


The gods of my folk could easily be called Lilith and Cain. They could be called Papa Guede and Maman Bridgitte. What -we- call them is another matter, and not part of that "outer court" to which you refer. I think the same can be true of other Traditions.

Why? If we're to believe that these Traditions are in any way "survivals" of something - how long have they been going? Which Priests became Gods over the slow drift of ages? Would the Chief and his wife (or Chief and her husband) eventually have become guiding spirits? Might they have taken a position of athourity, even in the circle? Might that be the reason there are Maids and Magisters in so many lines today?

Any other traditions I left out?

Clan of Tubal Cain, and Roebuck for starters. 1734... offbranches thereof. Coven of Atho, maybe.

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#4 Aloe

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:20 PM

In Ozark folklore regarding witchcraft, the god the witches meet and oath to is simply referred to as "the Devil". This is apparently a common trait in the lore of many other European traditions that existed pre-Wicca, some using different names for this god and some that didn't.
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"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#5 LdyShalott

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:37 PM

In Ozark folklore regarding witchcraft, the god the witches meet and oath to is simply referred to as "the Devil". This is apparently a common trait in the lore of many other European traditions that existed pre-Wicca, some using different names for this god and some that didn't.


Yes, the same holds true for the Appalachian tradition of my upbringing. But then of course, this was the labeling of the church and its followers and used in order to instill fear among the masses and justify the religious persecution. The god/s of my family teachings were never referred to as the devil or satan but most were more than content to sit back and let the misconception and ignorance abound.

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Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.  T.P.

In order to understand the living.. you have to commune with the dead..
You are a tiny little soul carrying around a corpse.-- Epictetus
All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move.

 


#6 sarasuperid

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:38 PM

I'm not sure what you're looking for re "why do these traditions have these aspects?"... you mean why do they work with gods? Or why those specific gods?

M


I wasn't nailing it down too much because I wasn't digging for any particular response, just making conversation because I thought it was an interesting topic. Answering it either of those interpretation would be interesting.

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#7 sarasuperid

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:44 PM

The gods of my folk could easily be called Lilith and Cain. They could be called Papa Guede and Maman Bridgitte. What -we- call them is another matter, and not part of that "outer court" to which you refer. I think the same can be true of other Traditions.

Why? If we're to believe that these Traditions are in any way "survivals" of something - how long have they been going? Which Priests became Gods over the slow drift of ages? Would the Chief and his wife (or Chief and her husband) eventually have become guiding spirits? Might they have taken a position of athourity, even in the circle? Might that be the reason there are Maids and Magisters in so many lines today?

{code]Any other traditions I left out? [/code]

Clan of Tubal Cain, and Roebuck for starters. 1734... offbranches thereof. Coven of Atho, maybe.


Thanks for that information, the outer circle information is certainly all I have to go off of at this point, but I assume there is plenty of oathbound names and information about the clan gods of the various traditions.

Perhaps I should add to my own list, Pickingill Craft because I think they have godforms as well.


Thanks for the other trads, I knew I was leaving a bunch out when I was writing that early this morning, foggy morning brain!

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#8 Aloe

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:20 PM

But then of course, this was the labeling of the church and its followers and used in order to instill fear among the masses and justify the religious persecution. The god/s of my family teachings were never referred to as the devil or satan but most were more than content to sit back and let the misconception and ignorance abound.


Very true.



Sara for some other traditions, Voodou (in its many spellings), Santeria, etc.. Some would consider these more 'religions' than traditions, depends on who's looking at them I guess, but they do have practices that most consider witchcraft, specific gods, and require initiation from what I understand...

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"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#9 sarasuperid

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:23 PM

I've four of my own theories why witchcraft traditions have godforms in them that are contrary to the dominant religions of their recent historical homes. These apply to different traditions.

One: these traditions are survivals of witches (by any other name just as sweet?) from pre-christian pagan times and/or places that kept their old gods through history.

Two: these traditions were heresies/rebellions against the dominant religion of the time and therefore found additional power by taking up the cause of antagonistic to christian or pre-christian godforms.

Three: a bit of a combo of the two, these traditions may have been pagan before christianity came, they took on acceptable new names for their god forms (Saints, Fairies, etc), Or they weren't and developed during Christian times as heresy, however then when anytime there was a revival of interest and/or more acceptance of pagan gods, they reverted to pagan names, either those from pre conversion, or those that were most cognate with the saints, fairies, etc that they could locate in the contemporaneous available lore.

Four: Some traditions were founded pre-gardner, but after major Christian control was loosened. They were folklorists, poets, and freethinkers and they wanted to do something different that the norm and founded orders. These traditions were founded based on newly available translations of native manuscripts, folklore studies, and templates from secret orders like the co-masons and rosicrucians which had their own heretical lore and may have had their own level of heretical or pagan survivals that were picked up and focused on by the forming witchcraft traditions.

Why these aspects continue to be important despite a more scientific world view of the last 100 or so years?

I think one of many possible reasons is because for these traditions the godforms are a part of the continuance of a line to ancestors and to each other. A clan gathered together in common cause of celebration of an old holiday for an old god gains a powerful connection to one another and to the past, this function integral in keeping a tradition going and the function is kept in this case by a shared godform. There are so many ways that a god fulfills these connections to the past and between one another than I could go on for an entire thesis paper.

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#10 Aloe

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:48 PM

I have noticed that many of the pre-wicca witchcraft traditions have spiritual lore and practices as a central aspect at least of what they share in their outer circle material.

Cultus Sabbati has the heretical Cain and Lilith lore
Feri has a family of god forms God Herself, the blue faced god, twins, and more
The Cornish Pellars have Old Lord Bucca

What do you think of that? Why do these traditions have that aspect?



Something I've thought for awhile is that we all have different experiences and lessons to learn, and I feel that entities reveal themselves to us and/or draw us to them based on what we need to learn and our desire to evolve. I believe it's likely our desire coupled with action towards our goal that draws them, and I think that can apply whether we see these entities/gods as internal or external. And since people with the same interests and experiences tend to group together, traditions, covens, etc. form around these common experiences and continue to draw others...

This has been my experience with supernatural beings, so I'm basing this on my solitary experiences alone. As I've said before, I'm not initiated into a traditional group so the similarities I've seen are based on my outside study of such groups, and may be way off. :)

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"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#11 brea

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:12 AM

I have noticed that many of the pre-wicca witchcraft traditions have spiritual lore and practices as a central aspect at least of what they share in their outer circle material.

Cultus Sabbati has the heretical Cain and Lilith lore
Feri has a family of god forms God Herself, the blue faced god, twins, and more
The Cornish Pellars have Old Lord Bucca

What do you think of that? Why do these traditions have that aspect?

Any other traditions I left out? I think a list like this might aid seekers in learning about some of the different witchcraft traditions.

I thought this would make an interesting topic for discussion


I believe it's because they have Creation myths that name specific Gods and Goddesses as their Creators.

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#12 Stacey

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:34 AM

Perhaps because there has always been worship in history? Now we make the conscious decision to either work with/worship Deity or not. Back then I suppose they perhaps looked at it a different way. The American Indians had their godforms that looked after harvest, guided trances etc, the Australian Aboriginals had godforms in the way of serpents and other Dreamtime legends and beings, the Celts had their godforms, so did the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks etc. I think that it was perhaps a tribal mindset insofar as understanding the why of things, something or some one had to be responsible for the creation of food/water/environment and therefore the godforms were created. So later when witchcraft traditions were created it wasn't probably even a conscious decision to have godforms because history in religion and life have lent themselves to having godforms in one way or another.

Just my thoughts.

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"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#13 CelticGypsy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:01 AM

Something I've thought for awhile is that we all have different experiences and lessons to learn, and I feel that entities reveal themselves to us and/or draw us to them based on what we need to learn and our desire to evolve. I believe it's likely our desire coupled with action towards our goal that draws them, and I think that can apply whether we see these entities/gods as internal or external. And since people with the same interests and experiences tend to group together, traditions, covens, etc. form around these common experiences and continue to draw others...

This has been my experience with supernatural beings, so I'm basing this on my solitary experiences alone. As I've said before, I'm not initiated into a traditional group so the similarities I've seen are based on my outside study of such groups, and may be way off. Posted Image



Bumping this Post and Thread, for further thought process.

Highlighting the words of my Peer are mine.



I also have not been involved/initiated into a Traditional Group, yet I do share the sentiment of my Peer's thoughts and experiances.

Regards,
Gypsy

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#14 Michele

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:40 AM

... these traditions are survivals of witches (by any other name just as sweet?) from pre-christian pagan times and/or places that kept their old gods through history...


...Why these aspects continue to be important despite a more scientific world view of the last 100 or so years?



I think the above is probably correct; however, I think it was the folk in general that kept their gods remembered, not specifically witches. Most pre-christian folk would have charms and superstitions, but not all were witches.

Why do these aspects continue to be important [to some people] despite a more scientific world view?

Science to me doesn't prove or un-prove the existence of god-forms. Science proves the big-bang... that doesn't dis-prove a divinity. It only explains the action that happened. Physics explains magic... that doesn't mean one can't manipulate energy. To me science does not have an impact on the validity of a divinity.

M

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#15 brea

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

Why do certain types of people seek out these types of spiritual traditions and Godforms? For those that search for something other than the mainstream, why do some end up here rather than wicca or buddhism or any other religion besides christianity?

I know of one Tradition that fits theory #1. A regional Craft Tradition that was able to keep some of their old ways by dividing the lore between families when the witchhunts began. Some families held the herbal lore. Some held the Rites, some the spellwork. They were able to gather up most of the lore but some was lost, which they had to reconstruct.

Brea

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#16 Guest_justme_*

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:06 PM

I think this is a very interesting topic. Personally I believe in polarity, meaning every energy has its opposite and the two make up the whole. I believe therefore that neither is better than the other.

The reason I bring this up is that godforms are often used to make judgements about what is good or bad. For instance in the Xtian tradition, Satan is evil. He represents self will and self worship while God represents good - good is submission and putting God and others over self. But in my mind, both are necessary and both can be both good and evil - depending on the use and the degree of extremity. Without self will and self love, one could not flourish and survive in life however, too much and you have narcissism.

To me spiritual means what is not of this physical world that we live. It is outside the material world. I believe we all on some level understand that we have the ability to create. I just don't think most of us understand just how much we create and draw our circumstances to us.

Godforms exist because they serve a purpose. They help to focus and define energy and experience. Its kind of scary to think one is a tiny little dot in the universe, unconnected with no real power. I believe humans develop beliefs in a stronger higher energy that can help them, either because a. these enitites do help us or b. our belief in them manifests what we need. I dont know which - maybe both. People continue to use what works for them. Godforms are cultural since they serve a need. So they take on the traits of the people using and depending on them. Personally I like the idea of chaos magic - that it is the power of belief that matters more than the tools or ritual. You can manifest energy using all kinds of means - if it works it is successful. Prayer works because people believe it will work. magic works because those who practice expect it to work. I think magic however is more than just belief in the outcome. It is the combining of outside energies with our own to achieve a certain result. I also don't believe science and spirituality contradict each other but will reinforce each other more as we learn more. in otherwords, you must believe in magic for it to be successful but its success is of a physical nature also. energy is physical.

I don't think godforms are right or wrong and I certainly don't believe that human beings are the end of the line in the universe (someone help us please if we are...........) I believe there are forms of energy that are stronger than our own. We didn't create ourselves. There is too much harmony and perfect balance in our world. that comes from somewhere it would seem. My guess is polarity is at work. its not either or, but both.

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#17 Ravenshaw

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 05:28 PM

Bump


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