How to Setup an Altar

A Witch’s altar is the focal point for her/his rituals, ceremonies, and spells. Statues and other depictions of their Goddess/Gods are commonly placed on the altar, along with other items more personal to the Witch. Though it is ultimately up to the witch to decide how to setup their altar, there are a few basic tools and arrangements that help aide in focus and energy.

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Pentacle disk
  • Athame
  • White Pillar Candle
  • Small Taper Candle
  • Candlesnuffer
  • 4 Directions Candles
  • Chalice of Water
  • Container for Salt
  • Small Handbell
  • Incense and Censer
  • Paper/Book with Ritual
  • Lighter

ITEM PLACEMENT

  • In the center of the altar, place your pentacle disk
  • Place your chalice of water on the disk
  • To the left of the disk, place the salt, paper/book with ritual, incense and censer
  • To the right of the disk, place the white pillar candle, candlesnuffer
  • Keep the athame and handbell within easy reach, to the right of the disk
  • At the far end of the altar, furthest from you, place the yellow candle for East. The red candle for South goes to the right of all the tools, the blue candle for West goes closest to you, and the dark green candle for North goes on the far left of the altar
  • The candles should make a circle around the tools, on the edges of the altar

My Personal Understanding of the 3 Aspects of the Goddess and God

I began learning about Wicca to help me with a book I’ve been writing. It wasn’t until I read about the Trinity Goddess that I began to learn for my own spiritual and mental health. What I refer to as the Trinity Goddess, are the three aspects of the Goddess, as well as the God. The Maiden, The Mother, The Crone. For the God: Divine Child, Son/Lover, Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death. These are some definitions given to us by D.J. Conway:

The Maiden: Color is white. Goddess of Spring and rebirth. She represents the waxing and crescent moons.

The Maiden can be so different for each woman. My Maiden years were full of abuse, mental illness, and promiscuity. I find it difficult to see how I would have related to the Maiden, but perhaps it’s the white she wears. White on women typically means pure, which often means untouched. So how could I relate to that?
I think the answer lies with the Maiden herself. No one says that the white means pure. The fact that the next stage is Mother says it all. The Maiden is all those years of development. Everyone has different experiences growing up. The Maiden is who the person needs at that time. If she needs an untouched and pure Maiden, then that’s what the Maiden represents. If the person struggles with the day-to-day and is not untouched, the Maiden represents all of it as a stage of life. It is important during those hard times, to remember that your life will go on. That it does not necessarily have to go on in the same situation you find yourself in now. The Maiden represents hope to me. Hope that we will survive her stage and mature into the Mother.

The Mother: Color is red. Goddess of Summer. Represents the full moon. Can help with physical desire, mental will and concentration, spiritual balance and understanding.

As a mother, this is the stage of the Trinity Goddess I relate to the most. I am a mother. I am a mother of three beautiful little girls. It’s my main identity, I am so much in their eyes. It’s a pressure that is far from easy to uphold. I have to be an example because they are watching. They watch me, watch my reactions as expectations for them. I want to be a strong woman for them, but there are too many days when I am far from strong. I know my oldest picks up on this. I put on a mask for her, but her empathy is very strong. She can feel when I am low.
This is why I need the Mother. I need someone I can talk to, vent to, that will not respond in words. Will not give me their opinion. I just need to be heard without judgement being made. The Mother does not respond with words. She clears your mind so that you can do what is necessary. I do as much as I am possible of doing for my family. I watch my temper, I strive to be patient beyond what is to be expected. In my low days I ask the Mother for strength. Not strength given to me, strength inside myself that I hadn’t tapped into.

The Crone: Color is black. Goddess of Winter. Represents the waning and new moon. Most fear the Crone, for she means inevitable death. They don’t know what awaits us on the other side.

I don’t find the Crone scary or intimidating. To me, the Crone represents the life you lead after the other stages have passed. Maybe you were never a Mother, but sought her guidance when you could not relate to the Maiden. That is how the Crone is. The final stage in life. When the Mother seems too young, or your problems are past that stage in your life, it is the Crone to whom you seek guidance.
To live long is an achievement I hope to make. It is not sad when someone gets old, it’s amazing. Everything you would have seen in your years, the people you met, the lovers and/or friends. There is so much to reminisce in this stage. When your time is up, you can embrace the Crone, proud of what you had achieved.

Views on Religion

I often get into religious debates with my coworkers, and something interesting has occurred to me:

What if everyone is right?

We witches have our Gods and/or Goddesses, Christians have their God,etc. But what if everyone is right in their beliefs? Perhaps, all the Gods and all the afterlife theories are correct. I pray to the Triple Moon Goddess. She looks after me and anyone else who goes to her for guidance. I believe that our souls go through multiple lives, taking in every aspect and point of view from life. When our souls have amassed enough knowledge, they transcend into beings that act as guides for other witches.

It’s been eye-opening to consider that maybe my beliefs only apply to me. No two witches share every idea and belief, that is the freedom that Wicca provides. Even as I plan to teach my daughters my beliefs, I am expecting them to alter some of the beliefs to fit their lives as they grow older. Not only do I encourage this, but I would be disappointed at them not taking charge of their lives and beliefs.

Organized religion however, is a whole other type of religion. The many branches are very individual. Catholics have their set-in-stone beliefs, Christianity has its beliefs, Islam its beliefs, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Most of them feel that they are the only true belief. That their afterlife is the only option. They strive to “save” others and bring them to their religion. While there is nothing wrong with that, blind faith has always been my biggest issue with those religions. Something I cannot follow.

If my theory is true, then heaven and hell do technically exist. Reincarnation, everything. Wicca teaches us the power of focused thought, of how powerful a group mentality or thought can be. The large number of followers for these organized religion is massive. Their collected thoughts could very well create their angles and demons. Their heaven and hell.

The other interesting thing, is that if I believe this, am I not believing their beliefs? I’ve sat and pondered this quite a bit over the last few days. I believe the Goddess is the one for me, I believe in her three forms. I find peace with these beliefs. So the real question to myself, that only I can answer, is what will there be for me? In life and in the after.

A Mother’s Acknowledgement

There are times, being a stay at home mom, in which I question my competency as a mother. I feel as though I am failing my children by keeping them home with me. That is what it is like to be Bipolar, to struggle and fail to keep your illness hidden from your children. This is a large part as to why I turned to Wicca. To have a helping hand.

The first time I prayed to the Goddess was when my youngest daughter was in the hospital. She was a preemie, and before her due date came, she got very sick. I had been researching Wicca for a book that I was writing, so I had my husband bring up some of that research, hoping that it would take my mind off the humming of her oxygen tubes. That was when I read about the Mother form of the Triple Goddess. And it hit home. I was a mother, worrying about her baby. I held onto the book, closed my eyes, and cried as I asked the Goddess to watch over my baby. To see my daughter as her daughter and give her the strength to fight off her illness. The next day, my baby was off oxygen and her feeding tube for good.

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The second time I prayed, was when my youngest was in the hospital again. This time with a different, unknown illness. I took out my book, closed my eyes, and cried again as I prayed that the doctors found out what was causing so much pain to my baby. The next day the doctors came in and told me their suspicions. They gave her the treatment, and after a few hours, she had recovered.

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I prayed for the third time yesterday. This was a different prayer. My family has had an incredibly unlucky year, and because of this series of events, we are struggling on multiple fronts. So I prayed. I feel as though I did not pray correctly, as awkward as that sounds. I feel as though what I asked for was selfish. All of the events that happened to us, could have been much, much worse. I KNOW that she was protecting us this year, I KNOW she was there and saved myself and my family from how truly horrific everything could have gone. I do not look down on anything she has done, I am immensely grateful. Which is why I feel selfish asking for more help pertaining to those incidents.

As I write this though, I feel an inner strength. Deep down, I know that my family does need help. I’m not stating that we do/do not deserve it, just that we could most certainly use any help we can find. I also know that given our history, with help or without, we will make it through this year. So now I wonder, did she give me a boost in my self confidence? I am always harsh with myself in regards to my mental illness and how that affects my family. I let every little bump in the road send me in a spiral downwards. Perhaps, instead of focusing on all of the negatives, I should focus on the positives. Look at each day and keep track of what I have achieved. Maybe one or more of these past events set something amazing in motion that can’t be seen yet. Maybe I just need to be patient. I may struggle each day, but I get through each day, and that is something I need to start acknowledging.

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Journey So Far

In short, it has been interesting. I say this in half exasperation, half thrill. I absolutely love that there seems to be never-ending knowledge to collect about the religion and craft. I love to study, to learn new things and apply them to unique situations. The interesting part comes from the reactions of others around me. I’ve written before about the reactions of my friends and family, but the reactions from others has altered my viewpoint on Wicca.

To be such a simple, innocent, and pure practice, it sure gathers hate like no other religion. Presently, when one religion is viewed bad it is because of the radical behavior of a few members of said religion. Unless anyone else knows of specific, radical Wiccans who have committed some atrocity, there really isn’t a need for such fear and disgust.

I have received very stern frowns, wrinkled foreheads included. I have also been told that I believe in the devil and will go to hell. Rolling with it, I informed them I did not believe in the devil, and therefore did not believe in hell. Far from shutting them up, which it did for a solid minute, it only reinforced their dismay. Then came the questions. “Well what do you believe?” I would answer, but I wasn’t being heard. As I said each thing I believed, they were coming up with comments or more questions to counter my answer.

These reactions shouldn’t surprise me. Centuries before, witches were feared and persecuted. Unfortunately, as we have evolved and become better educated, there still seems to be that deep-seated fear in witchcraft. Rather than becoming cautious regarding my journey, this has only made me believe even more. All of the main arguments made against Wicca that I have faced are Christian beliefs. It was the inconsistencies in Christianity that had me searching for a real answer from the very beginning. Wicca is a tailor-made religion and practice for each individual. Between all of us, from different sects or pantheons, we share one rule. “Harm none, do what you will.”

Like other religions, there are some grey lines, even with that one rule. Most witches believe that the harm in question is intentional and unintentional. White Witches strictly follow the rule, harming none no matter what situation may come to light. Grey Witches believe in the intentional and unintentional aspect, yet feel that there are some instances when the rule can be excused and that the Goddess will understand the reasoning and necessity for the harm. Of course we have the Black Witches, who do cause harm to improve their situations. I, as a Grey Witch, believe that there may come a time when harm is needed. But, I am also very aware of the Threefold Law. Whatever we send out, whether good or bad, will come back at us in some way times three. For example, repeated negative feelings and ill wishing to another, may come back at you times three in the way of a streak of bad luck. Therefore, if a time comes when I feel the need to venture into dark magic, I need to accept that the Goddess may not share my viewpoint on the justice I am giving. With there being a chance of that, I will weigh the Threefold with my decision prior to acting upon it.

I wish there was a standard answer to help the skeptics worry less about we Wiccans. The mockery and threats of hell definitely get old quickly. I’m comforted in the fact that the more I study, the better I will be at countering their negativity. Ideally, I should just ignore the negativity, but I have yet to evolve as an individual enough to be able to walk the higher path.

 

The Eight Holy Days

Winter Solstice: December 21st

Some sects view this holy day as a turning point of the year. It is the shortest day of the year, a true transition into the cold and the dark part of the year. When the Sun King dies, and is reborn as the Divine Child. Evergreens are decorated in honor of the Tree of Life. Candles, or lights as we now use, are to signify light in the upcoming darkness.

 

Imbolc: February 1st

This is the time of year where the Goddess is awakened as the Maiden. To honor this time, start to prepare for new beginnings in your life. A time for renewal, now is the time to start fresh and aim for new goals. Candied bread is made in a round form to represent the solar disk, with the candies representing the bounty of the Maiden.

 

Spring Equinox: March 21st

Night and Day are equal at this time of day, with Light beginning to come ahead. During this Holy day, we give red-colored eggs to family and friends in connection to the Goddess and rebirth. Where modern day Easter comes into play, the hare represented the Goddess, and the English Goddess Eostre was frequently mentioned in ties with this day.

 

Beltane: May 1st

Now known as Labor day, Beltane celebrates the sacred marriage between the Lord of the Forrest and Mother Earth. It is also a time for the great flow of fairy power. The renewal of nature is growing rapidly in preparation for the Summer Solstice.

 

Summer Solstice: June 21st

For this Holy Day, the day is the longest of the year. The sun is at its zenith and it is a last celebration until the darkness begins rising over the light. According to the Welsh, this is the day when fairies are out in their highest numbers. Witches tend to gather their herbs on this night, as it is this night that the herbs are at their most powerful. Bonfires are the most popular way to celebrate this day.

 

Lughnasadh: August 1st

One of two harvest days. Gather what herbs are ready, and leave the rest for seeds for next season. This day is commonly celebrated with feasts and physical sports. The Celtics celebrate this day as their god Lugh’s marriage to Mother Nature.

 

Autumn Equinox: September 21st

In ancient times, this signaled the last harvest. It was a time of celebration and rest. The days and nights are still equal, but darkness is gaining. Though we no longer live by the agricultural calendar, people, and especially witches, are still attuned to nature’s cycles. A fun way to celebrate this harvest is to make dollies from corn sheaves and keep for luck.

 

Samhain: October 30-November 1

To the Celtics, it signaled the end of the year. Also known as the Night of the Ancestors or Feast of the Dead. Costumes are worn to honor the dead and the tradition is now carried out as Halloween. To the Celts, if a soul did not receive justice for a wrong or a part in their death, retribution would be due on this holiday. For witches, this holy day is the best for divination, when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.

Dreams of Struggles

I had a hard day. I had zero patience with my girls and the day seemed to last forever. Due to all three girls being so young and all in diapers, daycare costs are ridiculously high. So, I stay at home with them during the day, and go to work in the evening when my husband comes home. This is not ideal, but somehow we make it through.

My dreams that night had me waking up in tears. Nothing excited happened, per se, but it was blissfully mundane. We were a happy family in which every aspect of our lives flowed seamlessly. We ate every home-cooked meal as a family AT the table.

Our family has gone through so much, especially recently. We’ve never had a steady pace, never had the chance to get into a routine. In that dream, along with the happiness, was a deep-seated yearning. I want to be a stepford family. I want to not have an upheaval every other week.

It doesn’t take much to be able to read this dream. I’ve had similar dreams my whole life. I crave consistency, routine, but being bipolar strikes a harsh line through that fantasy. I understand the struggle I will face every day. The struggle my family will deal with every day. We may one day come close to that dream. I will eventually figure out what I want to do with my life career-wise, the girls will be in school, and my husband will still be teaching. It’s in our grasp, but on days like this, it feels unreachable.

Days when my mood is wild and unpredictable, my emotions even more so. That’s when these dreams hurt the most. Because it is a dream. A perfect future.

 

Different Sects of Wicca

The following information was gathered from Wiccanspells.info For more information and more sects, D.J. Conways “Wicca: The Complete Craft” has several more.

1. Alexandrian Witch:
It is very much based on the Gardnerian Wicca practices, but it incorporates elements of ceremonial magic and Qabalah, too. Like most Wiccans, Alexandrian witches emphasize gender polarity. There are three levels of witchcraft, following an initiation, that an Alexandrian Witch can attain.

 

2. Augury Witch
The Roman term ‘augurs’ stands for someone whose task is to find out whether the gods approve of a particular course of action taken by an individual. These witches can find this out by interpreting sacred signs and omens that the individual has encountered on their spiritual journey. An Augury Witch can thus check whether the traveler is on the ‘right path.’ It’s important to distinguish an Augury Witch from a Witch who performs divination and tells prophecies – an Augury Witch is an interpreter between the mysterious cosmic forces and a person on a spiritual quest.
3. Ceremonial Witch
Like the name suggests, Ceremonial Witches hold ceremonies and rituals in high esteem. They’re likely to get their practices from a book, and follow a ritual or a ceremony to the letter when executing it. They might have a Book of Shadows always handy, and they might also draw on their knowledge of more scientific approaches, such as sacred mathematics and quantum mysticism. They’re also likely to call upon archetypal figures and recognized spiritual entities that represent the kind of energy they wish to manifest.

 

4. Dianic Witch
The most feminist of all Wiccan movements, the Cult of Diana focuses primarily on the worship of the Goddess. Dianic witches usually worship her through all three of her aspects – Maiden, Mother and Crone. Thus, a Dianic Witch is always a woman (sorry, fellas!). There is an offshoot of Dianic Wicca called ‘Arcadian Wicca’ that came about in the 1950s and allows men to attain equal status as women, recognizing the divine masculine, along with the feminine.

 

5. Druid
Historically, we don’t know much about Druids, as not many written documents about them have survived, except for a few sources, such as Julius Caesar’s diary of ‘The Gallic Wars’. He described Druidry as a somewhat organized religion, with their own rites and rituals, and a priestly class who acted as guardians of ancient laws and could execute judgement over others. Neo-druids take most of their practices from sources stemming back to the Romanticism Movement of the 18th century. These Druids do not follow any sacred text or dogma, but they have a spiritual vision of life. They believe that another world exists that we’re not always able to perceive. Many Druids worship nature, engage in prayer, meditation and ceremonies that mark important passages in nature.

 

6. Eclectic Witch
Eclectic witches don’t follow a certain religion or practice. Instead, they tune into their own intuition (or some like to call it their Higher Self) and engage in practices that work for them alone. They might have certain rites or ceremonies that they observe, derived from their own study of numerous schools of thought and witchcraft. However, these practices are largely their own creation and used for their purposes alone.

 

7. Faery Witch
Somewhat similar to the Eclectic Witch, a Faery Witch also has her own practices and ceremonies that she observes. However, by observing these, a Faery Witch tends to seek out communication with the faery folk and nature spirits. However, there is no organized practice of Faery Witches, so many of their approaches are individual.

 

8. Gardnerian Witch
A Gardnerian Witch follows the practices of Gardnerian Wicca that emerged in the 1950s, thanks to Gerald Gardner whom many consider as the ‘father of Wicca’. Since then, the practice has spread throughout the world. Many witches who practice Gardnerian Wicca promote strong feelings for nature, engage in colourful rituals and challenge religious and societal conventions. You can only become a Gardnerian Witch by initiation – you cannot initiate yourself. To progress through the various degrees in the movement, you must go through a structured system where you gradually learn more and more about witchcraft.

 

9. Green Witch
A Green Witch predominantly communicates with Mother Earth and works with Her energies. She most often uses natural items and places (such as sacred oak tree groves or lakes) in her rites and rituals. She does this, so that she can be closer to the Divine spirit that she can sense most strongly in nature. A Green Witch usually makes her own materials for ritual practice, and there are two distinct types of Green Witches – a Flora Witch (who uses mostly flowers and floral materials in her practice) and a Herbal Witch (who uses predominantly herbs and other types of plants).

 

10. Hedge Witch
Most often symbolized by a type of bird (a goose or a raven), the Hedge Witch has the ability to venture into the Otherworld and communicate with the spirit realm. Thus, the Hedge Witch is recognized as a powerful healers or midwife. She specializes in deliverance of spiritual messages into our physical reality and vice versa. It’s a very much Earth-based practice of spirituality. But what does ‘hedge’ have to do with it? In the past, a ‘hedge’ would mark a boundary of a village or settlement, and thus represents the boundary between our physical reality and the spirit world.

 

11. Hereditary Witch
You can only be a Hereditary Witch if you are born into a family where the members practice witchcraft, and have passed the practice down from generation to generation. Of course, if you’re born into such a family, you still have the freedom of choice. You can only become a Hereditary Witch if you consciously accept the practice – no one can force it on you.

 

12. Kitchen Witch
A Kitchen Witch may not be what first springs to your mind. She’s not confined to the kitchen, where she cooks potions and brews magical stews. She uses practical tools to engage in rituals, ceremonies and magick. A Kitchen Witch enjoys making her home and surroundings a sacred place, making practical and mundane everyday tasks sacred. In this sense, the practices of a Kitchen Witch are somewhat similar to the practices of mindfulness.

 

13. Secular Witch
While a Secular Witch may use tools such as crystals, herbs and stones in her practices, she does not recognize them as divine or spiritual. A Secular Witch does believe that the materials she uses and the energies that she connects with come from the natural world and the Earth, but she doesn’t necessarily worship any deities or spirits.

 

14. Shaman
A Shaman is someone who can reach altered states of consciousness by engaging in certain shamanistic practices. When a Shaman enters a trance state, they have access to the spirit realm, and they can communicate with and sometimes even influence both benevolent and malevolent spirits. They can channel their messages, as well as performing divination and healing.

 

15. Solitary Witch
As the name suggests, a Solitary Witch does not belong to a set practice, group or organization. Legend has it that these witches have practiced their craft over many lifetimes, and upon reaching puberty their knowledge is re-awakened. They begin to remember their craft and therefore don’t need the help of a group or organization to perform their magick rites.

Read more: https://wiccanspells.info/wiccan-pagan-articles/15-different-types-of-witches/

Sidetracked

Along this journey, I have become distracted. I’ve been gathering information for this blog, rather than for me. I began this blog to take others along with me as I study. But now my studying has become for the blog. The information I uncover is now for posts, and not tob e comprehended on a spiritual level.

I think maybe I’ve lost sight of what I am trying to achieve more than I thought. All of my reading has been for posts or for my BOS. I need to take a step back and review my list of priorities. I still want to post my thoughts and experiences, but finding a sense of calm for my mind and heart are more important.

I can fix it though. I’ll be rereading each chapter, and after each one, I will write my thoughts and feelings about what I’ve read, and keep you all up-to-date with each post.

I started looking into Wicca as research for a book I’m writing. As I read more about it, I realized how much I needed Wicca for me. I have always suffered from mental illness, toxic relationships, and abuse. For me, having someone to relate to, instead of fear, seemed an obvious choice. So much of our society is male dominated. We are the ones strong enough to bring another life into this world. Why would the Creator be male? The Goddess brings life as we know it, but she still needs her Consort for the production of life. Just as we women rely on sperm to create life.

A religion that can help me find peace is what I am truly looking for. I need peace. I need to actively do something for my health that is not opening pill bottles or running in place at a gym. I have prayed to the Goddess twice, and she has answered almost immediately. I don’t need to know why things happen, I just need to know that someone/something has my back.

Elemental Meditation

When I consider the elements, I feel that Earth would be the one I connect with. The book suggests setting up an area for each element and meditating. I will begin with Earth. Each week I will meditate each day. That following week I will meditate with another element and do the same meditation.

Week One: Earth

I felt a pull. A pull towards the rocks that I held. I purposelly left them unwashed, so that the dirt would help during my meditation. I was surprised at the pull. Out of all the elements, I suspected that Earth would connect with the most. But I didn’t expect to feel or sense anything that quickly.

It was a pull toward the ground, as if something underground was tugging at me. Not in a scary movie sense, but a comforting way. I wanted to hug the Earth its self.

I am curious as to what I will feel with the other elements.