Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft has influenced and guided countless students, coven initiates, and solitaries around the world. One of modern Wicca's . Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. One of the modern Wicca's most recommended. Religio-magickal ritual 1 2 / Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft was born when one of the cavemen threw on a skin and antlered mask and played the part .
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Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf ) or read book online for free. Uploaded from Google Docs. Raymond Buckland (31 August – 27 September ), whose craft name was Robat, was In the US, Buckland soon read the books The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray and Witchcraft Today by Gerald He published everything about the movement in The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Practical Magick: Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland (
We are all different.
Our backgrounds— both ethnic and social— vary greatly. It has often been said that there are many paths, but they all lead to the same center. With so many paths, then, you are able to find the right one for YOU; the one path you can travel comfortably and securely.
To be of the most use to you, the information I give in this book— the training you will get— is non-denominational. I take examples from different traditions e. Gardnerian, Saxon, Alexandrian, Scottish , giving you both general information and specifics.
This is drawn from my more than twenty years active participation in the Craft, and nearly twice that in the occult generally. By the time you have finished this training presuming that you take it seriously , you will be the equivalent of the Third Degree, in Gardnerian or similar.
From there you can then, as I have said, go on to other perhaps more specific training if you wish, in the sense of being tailored to a particular tradition. But from this present work you can get all of the basics and build from an excellent foundation. This is a workbook Consequently, rather than Chapters, I have divided it into Lessons. At the end of each lesson you will find workbook exercises.
At the end of the book in Appendix B you will find examination questions for each lesson. Read through each lesson. Read and absorb. Read through two or three times if necessary. Go back and pay special attention to anything you find was not easily absorbed. When you are finally happy with what you have learned, answer the examination questions. Answer in your own words, without referring back to the text. In this way you can see what has sunk in and what has not.
Do not go on to the next lesson until you are completely happy with the previous one. Answers to the questions are to be found in Appendix C. The book has been carefully put together in specific order. Don't try to jump ahead to "more exciting" lessons. When you have carefully worked through the entire book, then will be the time to go back and dip into it as a refresher. This book is based on the very successful Seax-Wica Seminary course that was enjoyed by over a thousand students worldwide.
From that experience I know that the formula works, and works well. I would hasten to add that while based on that course, this present work is not the same course. The Seax-Wica course was designed specifically for the Saxon tradition; this is not.
There is some duplication of the more general Craft material, yes, but not enough that a prior student of the Seminary course could not also enjoy this book. So, if you are a serious student of Witchcraft, or Wicca, either as a would-be practitioner or as one purely academically interested, then I welcome you.
I hope you get as much out of this material as did my previous students. Witches should be aware of their roots; aware of how and why the persecutions came about, for instance, and where and when the re-emergence took place. There is a great deal to be learned from the past. It's true that much of history can seem dry and boring to many of us, but that is far from so with the history of Witchcraft. It is very much alive and filled with excitement.
There have been many books written on the history of Witchcraft. The vast majority have suffered from bias — as will be explained shortly — but a few of the more recently published ones have told the story accurately The late Dr. Margaret Murray traced back and saw Witchcraft's origins in Palaeolithic times; 25, years ago.
She saw it as a more or less unbroken line through to the present, and as a fully organized religion throughout western Europe for centuries before Christianity. Recently scholars have disputed much of what Murray said. She did, however, present some tangible evidence and much thought-provoking material. As a probable development of religio-magick rather than Witchcraft, per se , her theories are still respected.
Only by success in the hunt could there be food to eat, skins for warmth and shelter, bones to fashion into tools and weapons. Nature was overwhelming. This is what we call Animism. A god controlled that wind. A god controlled the sky. A god controlled the waters. But most of all, a god controlled the all-important hunt It was at this time that magick became mixed in with these first faltering steps of religion. The earliest form of magick was probably of the sympathetic variety. Similar things, it was thought, have similar effects: If a life-size, clay model of a bison was made, then attacked and "killed".
There are, still in existence, cave paintings of such rituals, together with the spear- stabbed clay models of bison and bear. It is interesting to see how this form of sympathetic magick survived right through to relatively modern times. The Penobscot Indians, for example, less than a hundred years ago, wore deer masks and horns when performing rituals for the same purpose. The Mandan Indians' Buf- falo Dance is another example.
Along with this God of Hunting there was a Goddess, though which came first or whether they evolved together we do not know, and it is immaterial. If there were to be animals to hunt, there had to be fertility of those animals. Again sympathetic magick played a part. Clay models were made of the animals mating, and in an accompanying ritual the members of the tribe would copulate. There are many carved and modeled representations of the Fertility Goddess extant. Generally known as "Venus" figurines, the Venus of Willendorf is one of the best known.
All are similar in that the feminine attributes of these figures are greatly over-emphasized. They have heavy, pendulous breasts, large buttocks, an oftimes swollen belly — as though pregnant — and exaggerated genitalia. There is invari- ably complete lack of identity with the rest of the body. The face is not defined and the arms and legs, if there at all, are barely suggested. Woman was the bearer and nurser of the young.
With the development of agriculture there was a further elevating of the Goddess. She now watched over the fertility of the crops as well as of tribe and of animal. The year, then, fell naturally into two halves. The other deities of wind, thunder, lightning, etc. As different countries developed, so the God and God- dess acquired different names though not always totally different; sometimes simply variations on the same name , yet they were essen- tially the same deities.
To the north the same god is known as Cerne; a shortened form. And in still another area the name has become Heme. So hunting became less important. The Goddess was still of Fertility and Lesson One: This is evidenced from the burial customs of the period.
The Gravettians 22,, BCE were innovators here. They would bury their deceased with full clothing and ornaments and would sprinkle them with red ochre haematite, or iron peroxide , to give back the appearance of life. Frequently family members would be buried beneath the hearth so that they might remain close to the family.
A man would be buried with his weapons; perhaps even his dog — all that he might need in the afterlife. It is not difficult to see how a belief in a life after death came about. At the root of it were dreams. True, in sleep he occasionally moved and he breathed, but otherwise he was lifeless. Yet when he awoke he could tell of having been out hunting in the forest.
He could tell of having met and talked with friends who really were dead. The others, to whom he spoke, could believe him for they too had experienced such dreams. They knew he had not actually set foot outside the cave but at the same time they knew he was not lying. It seemed that the world of sleep was as the material world. There were trees and mountains, animals and people. Even the dead were there, seemingly unchanged many years after death. In this other world, then, Man must need the same things he needed in this world.
In fact by the time of the Anglo-Saxon kings in England, the king would never think of acting on any important matter without consulting the Witan; the Council of Wise Ones. And indeed the Wicca did have to be wise.
Buckland's complete book of witchcraft
They not only led the religious rites but also had to have knowledge of herbal lore, magick and divination; they had to be doctor, lawyer, magician, priest. To the people the Wicca were plenipotentiaries between them and the gods. But, at the great festivals, they almost became like gods themselves.
With the coming of Christianity there was not the immediate mass- conversion that is often suggested. Christianity was a man-made religion. It had not evolved gradually and naturally over thousands of years, as we have seen that the Old Religion did.
Whole countries were classed as Christian when in actuality it was only the rulers who had adopted the new religion, and often only superficially at that. Throughout Europe generally the Old Religion, in its many and varied forms, was still promi- nent for the first thousand years of Christianity. An attempt at mass conversion was made by Pope Gregory the Great. He thought that one way to get the people to attend the new Christian churches was to have them built on the sites of the older temples, where the people were accustomed to gathering together to worship.
He instructed his bishops to smash any "idols" and to sprinkle the temples with holy water and rededicate them. Also sometimes spelled Viica or Wito. Yet the people were not quite as gullible as he thought. When the first Christian churches were being constructed, the only artisans available to build them were from among the pagans them- selves. In decorating the churches these stonemasons and woodcarvers very cleverly incorporated figures of their own deities.
In this way, even if they were forced to attend the churches the people could still worship their own gods there. There are many of these figures still in existence today. The God- dess is usually depicted as very much a fertility deity, with legs spread wide and with greatly enlarged genitalia. Such figures are usually referred to as Shiela-na-gigs.
The God is shown as a horned head surrounded by foliage; known as a "foliate mask", and also sometimes referred to as "Jack of the Green" or "Robin o' the Woods".
Incidentally, these carvings of the old God should not be confused with gargoyles. The latter are the hideous faces and figures carved on the four corners of church towers to frighten away demons. In those early days, when Christianity was slowly growing in strength, the Old Religion — the Wiccans and other pagans — was one of its rivals.
It is only natural to want to get rid of a rival and the Church pulled no punches to do just that. It has frequently been said that the gods of an old religion become the devils of a new. This was certainly the case here. The God of the Old Religion was a horned god. So, apparently, was the Christian's Devil. Obviously then, reasoned the Church, the pagans were Devil worshippers!
This type of reasoning is used by the Church even today. Missionaries were particularly prone to label all primitive tribes upon whom they stumbled as devil-worshippers, just because the tribe worshipped a god or gods other than the Christian one.
It would not matter that the people were good, happy, often morally and ethically better living than the vast majority of Christians. The charge of Devil-worship, so often leveled at Witches, is ridiculous. The Devil is a purely Christian invention; there being no mention of him, as such, before the New Testament.
In fact it is interesting to note that the whole concept of evil associated with the Devil is due to an error in translation. It should be remembered that the idea of dividing the Supreme Power into two — good and evil — is the idea of an advanced and complex civiliza- tion.
The Old Gods, through their gradual development, were very much "human" in that they would have their good side and their bad side. It was the idea of an all-good, all-loving deity which necessitated an antagonist. In simple language, you can only have the color white if there is an opposite color, black, to which you can compare it.
The idea later spread westward and was picked up in Mithraism and, later, in Christianity. As Christianity gradually grew in strength, so the Old Religion was slowly pushed back. Back until, about the time of the Reformation, it only existed in the outlying country districts. Non-Christians at that time became known as Pagans and Heathens. The idea of the Trinity, for instance, was taken from the old Egyptian triad. December 25th, as the birthdate of Jesus, was borrowed from Mithra- ism — which also believed in a second coming and indulged in the 'Eating of God'.
In many religions of the ancient world were found immaculate conceptions and sacrifice of the god for the salvation of the people. Some of the instruments of torture used in -the Bamberg witch trials Lesson One: The word "Heathen" means "one who dwells on the heath". So the terms were appropriate for non-Christians at that time, but they bore no con- notations of evil and their use today in a derogatory sense is quite incorrect. As the centuries passed, the smear campaign against non-Christians continued.
What the Wiccans did was reversed and used against them. They did magick to promote fertility and increase the crops; the Church claimed that they made women and cattle barren and blighted the crops! No one apparently stopped to think that if the Witches really did what they were accused of, they would suffer equally themselves.
After all, they too had to eat to live.
An old ritual act for fertility was for the villagers to go to the fields in the light of the full moon and to dance around the field astride pitchforks, poles and broomsticks; riding them like hobby-horses. They would leap high in the air as they danced, to show the crops how high to grow. A harmless enough form of sym- pathetic magick. But the Church claimed not only that they were work- ing against the crops, but that they actually flew through the air on their poles.
In this book definite instructions were given for the prosecution of Witches. However, when the book was submitted to the Theological Faculty of the Univer- sity of Cologne — the appointed censor at that time — the majority of the professors refused to have anything to do with it.
Kramer and Sprenger, nothing daunted, forged the approbation of the whole faculty; a forgery that was not discovered until Gradually the hysteria sited by Kramer and Sprenger began to spread. It spread like a fire — flashing up suddenly in unexpected places; spreading quickly across the whole of Europe.
For nearly three hundred years the fires of the persecutions raged. Humankind had gone mad. The inhabitants of entire villages where one or two Witches were suspected of living, were put to death with the cry: By dint of frequent torture a "confession" was obtained and one hundred twenty men and women were burned to death on his charge that they had interfered with the elements.
Since fertility was of great importance — fertility of crops and beasts — there were certain sexual rites enacted by the Wicca, as followers of the nature religion.
These sexual rites seem to have been given unnecessary prominence by the Christian judges, who seemed to delight in prying into the most minute of details concerning them.
The rites of the Craft were joyous in essence. It was an extremely happy religion and so was, in many ways, totally incomprehensible to the gloomy Inquisitors and Reformers who sought to suppress it. A rough estimate of the total number of people burned, hung or tor- tured to death on the charge of Witchcraft, is nine million.
Obviously not The Malleus Malleficarum is in three parts, the first of which treats 'the three necessary con- comitants of Witchcraft are the Devil, a Witch, and the permission of Almighty God'.
Here the reader is first admonished that to not believe in Witchcraft is heresy. Points are then covered on whether children can be generated by Incubi and Succubi; Witches' copulation with the Devil; whether Witches can sway the minds of men to love or hatred; whether Witches can hebetate the powers of generation or obstruct the venereal act; whether Witches may work some presti- digitatory illusion so that the male organ appears to be entirely removed and separate from the body; various ways that the Witches may kill the child conceived in the womb, etc.
The second part, Treating of the methods by which works of Witchcraft are wrought and directed, and how they may be successfully an- nulled and dissolved;' deals with 'the several methods by which devils through Witches entice and allure the innocent to the increase of that horrid craft and company; the way whereby a formal pact with evil is made; how they transport from place to place; how Witches impede and prevent the power of procreation; how as it were they deprive man of his virile member; how Witch midwives commit horrid crimes when they either kill children or offer them to devils in most accursed wise; how Witches — injure cat- tle, raise and stir up hailstorms and tempests and cause lightning to blast both men and beasts'.
Then follow remedies for the above. The third part of the book 'Relating to the judi- cial proceedings in both the ecclesiastical and civil courts against Witches and indeed all heretics ', is perhaps the most important. It is here that the order of the trial is dealt with.
It goes on to The method of initiating a process; the solemn adjuration and re-examination of witnesses; the quality and condition of wit- nesses; whether mortal enemies may be admitted as witnesses'. Here we are told that 'the testi- mony of men of low repute and criminals, and of servants against their masters, is admitted.
We learn that, in the case of Witchcraft, virtually anybody may give evidence, though in any other case they would not be admitted. Even the evidence of young children was admissable.
It is obvious from the above that the authors of the Malleus Maleficarum had certain obses- sions. A large number of the chapters are, for example, concerned with sexual aspects of Witch- craft. This had been a wonderful opportunity for some to get rid of anyone against whom they bore a grudge! Just possibly Bridget Bishop and Sarah Good were, but the others were nearly all pillars of the local church up until the time the hysterical children "cried out" on them.
But what about Satanism? The Witches were called worshippers of the Devil. Was there any truth to this? Yet as with so many of the charges, there was reason for the belief. The early Church was extremely harsh on its people. It not only governed the peasants' way of worship but also their ways of life and love. Even between married couples, sexual intercourse was frowned upon. It was felt that there should be no joy from the act, it being permitted solely for procrea- tion.
Intercourse was illegal on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; for forty days before Christmas and a similar time before Easter; for three days prior to receiving communion, and from the time of concep- tion to forty days after paturition. In other words, there was a grand total of approximately two months in the year only when it was possible to have sexual relations with your spouse. It was no wonder that this, together with other such harshness, led to a rebellion— albeit a clandes- tine one.
The people — this time the Christians — finding that their lot was not bettered by praying to the so- called God of Love, decided to pray to his opposite instead. If God wouldn't help them, perhaps the Devil would. So Satanism came into being. A parody of Christianity; a mockery of it.
It was a revolt against the harshness of the Church. As it turned out the "Devil" did not help the poor peasant either. But at least he was showing his disdain for the authorities; he was going against the establishment. It did not take Mother Church long to find out about this rebellion. Satanism was anti-Christian. Witch- craft was also — in their eyes — anti-Christian. Ergo, Witchcraft and Satanism were one and the same. It was replaced by an Act that stated that there was no such thing as Witch- craft and to pretend to have occult powers was to face being charged with fraud.
By the late seventeenth century the surviving members of the Craft had gone underground; into hiding. For the next three hundred years, to all appearances Witchcraft was dead. But a religion which had lasted twenty thousand years, in effect, did not die so easily. In small groups — surviving covens, oftimes only of family members — the Craft continued. In the literary field Christianity had a heyday.
Printing had been invented and developed during the persecutions, therefore anything published on the subject of Witchcraft was written from the Church's point of view.
Later books had only these early works to which to refer so, not unnaturally, they were heavily biased against the Old Religion. In fact it was not until , when Dr. From studying the records of the trials of the Middle Ages, Murray an eminent anthropologist and then Pro- fessor of Egyptology at London University picked up the clues that seemed to her to indicate that there was a definite, organized, pre-Christian religion behind all the "hogwash" of the Christian allegations.
Although her theories finally proved a little far-fetched in some areas, she did indeed strike some chords. Wicca was by no means as far-reaching and widespread as Murray suggested nor was there proof of a direct, unbroken line of descent from the cavepeople , but there can be no doubt that it did exist as an indubitable religious cult, if sporadic as to time and place. She enlarged on her views in a second book, The God of the Witches, in In England, in , the last laws against Witch- craft were finally repealed.
This cleared the way for the Witches themselves to speak up. In Dr. Witchcraft was a religion and in fact it still is. I know, because I am a Witch myself. He was the first to give the Witches' side of the story. At the time of his writing it seemed, to him, that the Craft was rapidly declining and perhaps only hanging on by a thread.
Witches were hung. It was in Scotland and Continental Europe that they were burned at the stake. Lesson One: The History and Philosophy of Witchcraft I 7 all still happily practicing their beliefs. Yet these survi- ving covens had learned their lesson. They did not wish to take the chance of coming out into the open. Who was to say the persecutions could not start again? For a while Gerald Gardner's was the single voice speaking for the Craft.
He claimed to have been initiated into an English coven, near Christchurch, just before the start of the Second World War. He was excited by what he found.
He had spent a lifetime in the study of religio-magick and now was a part of it. He wanted to rush out and tell everyone. But he was not allowed to. Finally though, after much pleading, he was allowed to present some of the true Witch beliefs and practices by weaving them into a novel: High Magic's Aid, published in It took five more years for him to persuade the coven to let him do the factual treatment.
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Complementing Witchcraft Today, his third book was published in , titled The Meaning of Witchcraft. From his lifetime study of religion and magick, Gardner felt that what he found as the remains of Witchcraft was incomplete and, in places, inaccurate. For millenia the Old Religion had been a purely oral tradition. It was not until the persecutions, with the separating of covens and the resultant loss of inter- communication, that anything was put into writing.
At that time, when the Witches were having to meet in the shadows, the rituals were finally written down in what became known as The Book of Shadows. The Book was then copied and recopied as it passed, over the years, from coven leader to coven leader. It was only natural that errors would creep in. This form then became known as "Gardnerian Witchcraft". In recent years there have been many wild and wonderful theories and accusations advanced, from "Gardner made up the whole thing" to "He commissioned Aleister Crowley to write The Book of Shadows for him".
Such charges scarcely bear the dignity of a response, but details of Gardner's pre- paratory work can be found in Stewart Farrar's books: However, whatever one's feelings about Gardner, whatever one's belief in the Wicca's origins, all present- day Witches and would-be Witches owe him a tre- mendous debt of gratitude for having had the courage to stand up and speak out for Witchcraft.
It is because of him that we can enjoy the Craft, in its many forms, today. In America the first Witch to "stand up and be Dr. At that time there were no covens visible in this country. Initiated in Scotland Perth by Gardner's High Pries- tess, I set out to emulate Gardner insofar as to try to straighten the long-held misconceptions and to show the Craft for what it truly is.
It was an exciting time as more and more covens, and many different traditions, came into the open or at least made themselves known. Today the would-be Witch has a wide selection from which to choose: Details of some of these different traditions are given in the Appendix. That there are so many, and such varied, branches "denominations" or "traditions" of Witchcraft is admirable. As I said in the Introduction to this work, we are all different. It is not surprising that there is no one religion that suits all people.
In the same way, then, there can be no one type of Witchcraft to suit all Witches. Some like lots of ritual, while some are for simplicity. Some are from Celtic backgrounds, others from Saxon, Scots, Irish, Italian, or any of a number of others.
Some favor a matriarchy; others a patriarchy and still others seek a balance. Some prefer to worship in a group coven , while others are for solitary worship. With the large number of different denominations, then, there is now more likelihood of everyone find- ing a path they can travel in comfort.
Religion has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the caves of pre-history. Witchcraft, as one small facet of religion, has also come a long way. It has grown to become a world wide religion, legally recognized. Today, across America, it is not at all unusual to find open Wiccan festivals and seminars taking place in such unlikely places as family campgrounds and motels such as the Holiday Inn. Witches appear on television and radio talk shows; they are written up in local and national newspapers and magazines.
Witchcraft courses are given in colleges. Yes, Witchcraft has a place in past history and will have a definite place in the future. It is not full of the gloom of Christianity, with its ideas of "original sin", with salvation and happiness possible only in the afterlife. The music of Witchcraft is joyful and lively, again contrasting with the dirge-like hymns of Chris- tianity.
Why is this? Why are Wiccans more contend- more warm and happy? Much of it has to do with their empathy with nature. Early people lived hand-in- hand with nature through necessity. They were a part of nature, not separate from it.
An animal was a brother or a sister, as was a tree. But then many animals kill other animals in order to eat. In other words, Woman and Man were a part of the natural order of things, not separate from it.
Not "above" it. Civilization has cut them off. But not so the Witch! Even today, in this mechanized, super-sophis- ticated world that this branch of nature Woman and Man has created, the Wicca retain their ties with Mother Nature. In books such as Brett Bolton's The Secret Power of Plants we are told of the "incredible", "extraordinary" healthy reaction of plants to kind- ness; of how they feel and react to both good and evil; how they express love, fear, hate something that might be borne in mind by vegetarians when they become over-critical of meat-eaters, perhaps?
This is no new discovery. Witches have always known it. They have always spoken kindly to plants. It is not unusual to see a Witch, walking through the woods, stop and hug a tree. It is not peculiar to see a Witch throw off her shoes and walk barefoot across a ploughed field. This is all part of keeping in touch with nature; of not losing our heritage. If ever you feel completely drained, if ever you are angry or tense, go out and sit against a tree.
Choose a good, solid tree oak or pine are good and sit down on the ground with your back straight, pressed up against the trunk. Close your eyes and relax. You will feel a gradual change come over you. Your tension, your anger, your tiredness will disappear. It will seem to drain out of you.
Then, in its place, you will feel a growing warmth; a feeling of love and comfort. It comes from the tree. Accept it and be glad. Sit there until you feel completely whole again. Then, before Lesson One: The History and Philosophy of Witchcraft I 9 leaving, stand with your arms about the tree and thank it. Take time to stop and appreciate all that is about you. Smell the earth, the trees, the leaves. Absorb their energies and send them yours.
One of the contribu- ting factors to our isolation from the rest of nature is the insulation of our shoes. Whenever you can, go barefoot. Make contact with the earth. Feel it; absorb it. Show your respect and love for nature and live with nature. In the same way, live with other people.
There are many whom you meet, in the course of your life, who could benefit from their encounter with you. Always be ready to help another in any way you can. Don't ignore anyone, or look the other way when you know they need help. If you can give assistance, give it gladly.
At the same time do not seek to take charge of another's life. We all have to live our own lives. But if you are able to give help, to advise, to point the way, then do so.
It will then be up to the other to decide how to proceed from there. The main tenet of Witchcraft, the Wiccan Rede, is: It's as simple as that. I, per- sonally, subscribe to those principles and list them here. Read them carefully. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment.
We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and conscious- ness within an evolutionary concept. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called "supernatural", but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity — as masculine and feminine — and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the inter- action of the masculine and feminine.
We value neither above the other, knowing each to be sup- portive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc.
We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it — a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft — the Wiccan Way.
Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch — but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and develop- ment of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or to- wards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.
As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the his- tory of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions.
We are concerned with our present and our future. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil", as defined by the Chris- tian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.
We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is con- tributory to our health and well-being. They are the sort who know that the telephone is going to ring before it actually does, and who is on the other end of the line before they pick up the receiver. People like Uri Geller are able to demonstrate this power in more dramatic ways, by bending keys and teaspoons without physical contact. Others have "visions" or seem to be able to make things happen. Often these people have a peculiar affinity with animals.
You may not be like this. You may. Yet you shouldn't feel that way, for the power that these people have — and it is a very real power — is inherent in all of us. To be sure, that power comes out quite naturally in some, but that doesn't mean that it can't be brought out in others.
The aura which will be dealt with extensively in a later lesson is a visible manifestation of this power. Those able to see the aura — and you will become one of these — can see it around everyone; again demonstrating that the power is within every- one.
Witches have always had the power and used it. Most of them seem to have it naturally, but not all by any means. For that reason the Witches have their own ways of drawing it out; ways that are especially effective.
In the magazine Everyday Science and Mechanics, for September , appeared the following report: Human Tissues Produce Deadly Radiations "Rays emitted from human blood, fingertips, noses and eyes, kill yeast and other micro-organisms, according to Professor Otto Rahn, working at Cornell University. Yeast, such as used in making bread, was killed in five minutes merely by the radiation from the fingertips of one person. When a quartz plate, Vz inch thick, was interposed it took fifteen minutes for the yeast to die.
In tests of fingers it was found that the right hand was stronger than the left, even in left- handed persons. Speaking at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he explained how the "rays" seemed to come out most strongly Lesson One: The History and Philosophy of Witchcraft 1 11 from the fingertips, the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the armpits, the sex organs and — in women only — the breasts. Harold S. Burr, of Yale University, spoke of similar experiments and conclusions when addressing the Third International Cancer Congress.
Witches have always believed in this power coming from the body and have developed ways to increase it, collect it and use it to do what we term magick. Professors Rahn and Burr showed the destructive use of this power, but it can be used equally effectively constructively. Here is a simple experiment you can try with a friend. Have the friend strip to the waist and sit with his back to you.
Now, extend your hand, with the palm down and fingers together, straight out to point at his or her back. Keep the tips of the fingers an inch or so away from the surface of the skin. Now slowly move your hand up and down along the line of his spine see illustration.
Try to keep your arm straight and con- centrate your thoughts on sending all your energies out along your arm and into your hand and fingers. You will probably get quite a reaction from your friend as your power makes contact. He might feel a strong tingling sensation, heat, or even what seems like a cool breeze.
Try with the left hand; with the fingers together; at dif- ferent distances from his back. See if he knows where your hand is. Does he feel it moving up when it is moving up; down when moving down?
You will find that the intensity of the power varies dependant upon your physical health and also upon the time of the day and the day of the month. Keep records and note when it is the best time for you to "generate". Spells are done by full covens, certainly, but there are very effective ones that can be done by the individual.
The most important ingredient in a spell is emotion. You must want something to happen. You must want it with all your being, and through that desire you will drive all your power into the magick. This is the reason that it is far better to do magick for yourself than to ask someone else to do it for you. If you are doing a spell for another person there is no way that you are going to put the same amount of emotional drive into it that they could.
Spells and charms are not necessarily tied in with the religious side of Witchcraft. To work a spell within the Circle, immediately following an Esbat rite would, almost certainly, be extraordinarily effective. Yet you can cast a simple Circle and work your spell at any other time and still get results. The actual mechanics of casting a spell; of working magick? Well, let's leave that until you are somewhat better versed in the religious side; after all, Witchcraft is a religion.
What is your understanding, feeling of Witchcraft? Examine your impressions, preconceptions, biases, etc. How have your reactions changed regarding Witchcraft throughout your life?
There are many different denominations of Witchcraft. Information is found on these in Appendix A. Based on what you know at this point, which denomination do you think you'd like to practice, and why?
The earliest conceptions of primitive magic dealt with sympathetic magic. How can sympathetic magic help you today?
In what ways can you foresee using it?
List some possibil- ities. Make a tape recording outlining the principles of Witchcraft which you intend to adhere to. Keep the tape for future use for recording favorite rituals on.
Speaking out loud helps to consolidate beliefs, and make them clearer to you. It has frequently been said that they are simply different paths all leading to a common center, and this is true. The basic teachings are all the same; all that differs is the method of teach- ing. There are different rituals, different festivals and even different names for the gods.
Friedrich Max Muller traced religion back to "an ineradicable feeling of dependence" upon some higher power that was innate in the human mind. And Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough defines religion as being "a propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to Man, which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life". This higher power — the "Ultimate Deity" — is some genderless force which is so far beyond our comprehension that we can have only the vaguest understanding of its being.
Yet we know that it is there and, frequently, we wish to communicate with it. As individuals, we wish to thank it for what we have and to ask it for what we need. How do we do this with such an incomprehensible power? In the sixth century BCE the philosopher Xeno- phones remarked on the fact that deities are deter- mined by ethnic factors.
He pointed out that the black Ethiopians naturally saw their gods as negroid, whereas the Thracians' gods were white, with red hair and gray eyes. He cynically commented that if horses and oxen could carve they would probably represent their gods in animal form!
About seven hundred fifty years later Maximus of Tyre said much the same thing: In Lesson One you saw how, in their early develop- ment, people came to worship two principle deities: These, then, were our representations — our under- standable forms — of the Supreme Power which actually rules life.
In virtually all instances there were exceptions the Ultimate Deity was equated with both masculine and feminine. This would seem most natural since everywhere in nature is found this duality. With the development of the Craft, as we know it, there was also, as we have seen, this duality of a God and a Goddess.
And not only locality. With the Goddess, especially, the ques- tion of names could become quite involved. For example, a young man with problems in his love life might worship the Goddess in her aspect of a beautiful young woman. Yet a woman in childbirth might feel more at ease relating to the Goddess as a more mature "middle- aged" female. Then again an elderly person would tend to think of the Goddess as herself being elderly. So there we have three separate and very distinct aspects of the same Goddess, each having been given a different name yet all being the same deity.
As if that weren't enough, the deities would have names known to the general worshippers but also other, secret, names often two or three known only to the priest- 13 14 I Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft hood. This was a protective measure. In Witchcraft today there are many traditions that continue this multiplicity of names.
Traditions with degree systems, for example, fre- quently use different deity names in their higher degrees than in their lower. Gardnerian is one example of this.
So we have this idea of an Ultimate Deity, an incomprehensible power, and in trying to relate to it we have split it into two main entities, a male and a female. To these we have given names. It would seem that by so doing we are limiting what is, by definition, limitless. But so long as you know, and keep always in the back of your mind, that "It" IS limitless you will find that this is the easiest path to follow. After all, it is pretty difficult to pray to a "Thing", a Supreme Power, without being able to picture some- one in your mind.
Yahweh is the vocalized form often used, but it is derived from the four letters YHWH the "divine Tetra- grammaton" , signifying "that name too sacred to be pronounced". With the addition of Mary, the mother figure, the duality was complete.
Jesus and Mary were the intermediaries. Different traditions use different names, as already mentioned. These are the names used for the "understandable forms" of the Supreme Power; the Ultimate Deity.
They are the deities honored and worshipped in the Witchcraft rites. In fact this is one of the main reasons for people women especially leaving Chris- tianity and returning to the Old Religion. And yet it's a strange paradox that many — if not the majority — of Witchcraft traditions are guilty of this same crime of Christianity, if in reverse. Witchcraft is a religion of nature, as any Witch will tell you. Every- where in nature there is male and female, and both are necessary I have yet to meet anyone who does not have both a mother and a father.
It follows, then, that both the God and the Goddess are important and should be equally revered. There should be balance. But balance is as woefully missing in most traditions of the Craft as it is in Christianity.
We are all — every single one of us — made up of both masculine and feminine attributes. The toughest, most macho man has feminine aspects just as the most traditionally-feminine woman has male aspects. As such he is god of goatherds and flocks and is usually represented as a very sensual creature; a shaggy human to the loins with pointed ears, goat's horns and legs.
He wanders among the mountains and valleys, pursuing nymphs or leading them in their dances. He is quite musical and is the inventor of the Syrinx, or 'Pipes of Pan '.
He is considered to be a son of Hermes. Beliefs 1 15 with the deities. The God has feminine aspects as well as masculine, and the Goddess has masculine as well as feminine. I will examine this in more detail in a later lesson. What names you use for your deities is a matter of personal prefer- ence. Each tradition has its own name. But names are only labels; they are only a means of identifying. You should identify, then, using a name with which you can feel completely comfortable.
For, after all, religion is a most per- sonal thing, at the core, and — to be of real purpose — should therefore be related to on the most personal level possible. Even if you join an established tradition this is still valid — find a tradition that seems right for you as I spoke about in Lesson One but. If the name used to iden- tify the God, in the tradition you have chosen, happens to be Cernunnos for example and you have difficulty relating to that name, then choose another for your own use.
In other words, respect the name Cernunnos in group worship and all matters pertaining to the coven but, in your own mind — and in personal rites — don't hesitate to substitute Pan or Mananna or Lief or whatever.
A name, as I have said, is a label. The God himself knows you are "talking" to him; he's not going to be confused! This all applies equally to the Goddess of course. It may well be for the above reason that the name Cernunnos is found in so many branches of the Craft. As I've mentioned, it is simply the Latin word for "the Horned One". To add your own personal identification, then, in no way conflicts.
Traditionally the "dark half" of the year see Figure 2. But this does not or should not mean that he is "dead", or incommunicado, in the "light half" of the year and vice versa with the God- dess. During the light half he is fully active in his feminine aspect; just as the Goddess is active in the dark half in her masculine aspect. So, both deities are active throughout the year, even though deference may be given to one over the other at certain times.
There is a common theme of death and resurrection found in myths throughout the world. The symbolism is frequently furthered in a de- scent to the underworld with a later return. We find it with Ishtar's de- scent and search for Tannaz; with Sif's loss of her golden tresses; with Idunn's loss of her golden apples; with Jesus' death and resurrection; with Siva's death and resurrection, and many more.
Basically all repre- sent the coming of fall and winter followed by the return of spring and summer; the lead figure represnting the spirit of vegetation. The Guardians of the Portals challenged her, 'Strip off thy There can be surprises in discovering names used for the deities in different traditions. Their connection with the Welsh must be one of the mysteries!
Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt and kissed her feet, saying, "Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me, let me place my cold hand on thy heart.
Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die? Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time I give them rest and peace, and strength so that they may return.
But thou, thou art lovely. Return not; abide with me. Then said Death, 'An' thou receive not my hand on thy heart, thou must receive Death's scourge'. The male partner is the focus of this entire passage, with the female partner aiming to bring herself to orgasm at the same time as the male. Where sex Magick is to be worked this is especially important. He states that if pregnancy should be avoided Oral sex is an option, never mentioning condoms or any form of contraception.
There is also a lovely quote from a Dr Mumford about the health benefits of imbibing semen… I preface this section with a few clarifying statements: I am asexual. I can and do have sex, though I have a very low sex drive and I actually view sex as something apart from the intimacy of a loving relationship.
The vague mention of same sex couples and those not wanting to take part in this bizarre ritual is frankly homophobic, inconsiderate and disgusting. If I did not already find this book repulsive, I would have had a very swift change of heart during this section. In conclusion, this book is a relic. Printed in , I feel this book was already behind the times at conception.
Buckland became a Gardnerian in the sixties, a time of rebellion, but he has stuck to the patriarchal, white supremacist rebellion: sexual freedom as men using women as they see fit as eye candy or for their own progression and power ; cultural appreciation developing into appropriation and outright lies I spied at least five different alphabets in this book, but I did not find a single mention of the language that they are used for or any respect for these letters: they are a code for witches and nothing more ; and religious freedom as twisting Witchcraft and Wicca into a forced mirror of christianity, with his descriptions of covens acting as a permanent reminder of the high Christian churches, especially Catholicism.
TLDR; this is the worst book for a beginner. It is sexist, homophobic and downright patronising. If you are starting out into witchcraft, this is the worst book choice possible.Don't use this book on its own to teach you about the Craft. These can be bought or can be made. Search WorldCat Find items in libraries near you. They are then personally charged and conse- crated.
You may paint this section of the wall differently from the rest of the room, to suit your desires. It is a legacy that will provide magic, beauty, and wisdom to future generations of those who seek the ancient paths of the Old Religion. The Mandan Indians' Buf- falo Dance is another example.