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Advance Your Craft: An Excerpt from A Witch's Notebook by Silver RavenWolf

This article was written on May 01, 2005 posted under Pagan

I have notebooks lying all over the house. They are collecting dust in the attic, in boxes in the basement, shoved in my magickal cabinet, under my bed, in the kitchen drawers, teetering on top of the massive bookcase in the living room and poking out from beneath the dining room hutch. I donít write in code, but if you perused them they would probably look like a chicken went wild with a calligraphy set. Okay, change the chicken to a raven and at least it is a more mystical visualization. Ö

If I put all of my notebooks together on the table I can definitely see a transition occurring. Through stories about people, about situations, events and in the early days about how I felt deep inside (lots of that), I slowly reached out into the universe, grasping at the idea of pure potential. Episodes of the daily grind in the earlier notebooks were replaced by dissertations on life, aspects of the divine, my purpose (what was it?), reality, magick, history, symbolism and so on. It wasnít that Iíd distanced myself from day-to-day living (yeah, with four kids, a husband, numerous pets, a nine-to-five job Ö I think not). Instead, I made up my mind that there was a way to mesh spirituality, magick, science and real life into a harmonious tapestry—and I was going to find it! Ö

Youíll find the writing a bit different in this book, as sometimes I found myself speaking to the student and sometimes to the teacher. There is an explanation for this; as of the completion of this particular work, I have fifty-three covens in the United States and Canada. My daily life within the Craft is often busy with the governing of our clan, working with our teachers, designing teaching rituals, formats, events, correspondence and general material. We donít hive—we multiply! Given this current focus, my work has moved into the arena of teaching the teachers, not on basic study (theyíve already done that) but on group government that works, methods of presentation, philosophy of our religion and the joys and stresses of imparting to students this amazing practice we call Witchcraft. Ö

The path to enlightenment—where does it start and where does it end? Well, it doesnít. Your journey began before you manifested in physical form here on this planet and it will not cease when that physical representation of yourself is no longer capable of interacting with this world. Our journey is not linear; it is a series of energy unfoldments out of space and time that represent our choices and our understanding of them. This understanding sometimes occurs before, during or after the direction was chosen—it is never the same. Our journey is nothing more than utilized pure potential at any given observation point (notice I didnít say the word ďtimeĒ). Our understanding, then, in essence, is enlightenment. Ö

This book is a small representation of my personal notebooks, and therefore need not be used in a linear fashion, although if you choose to do so it will function very well as a set of lessons for the initiate. Each topic is a mini-lesson in and of itself. Above all, the work is designed to encourage you to think, to be creative and to forge your own path (which will be different than mine). Its fundamental teachings are rooted in modern Witchcraft, but the techniques we will use cover a compendium of magickal sciences and ancient philosophy, and can be incorporated into various study programs. If you are new to Witchcraft or the occult sciences, please note that this book is designed as a hands-on work and does not cover a vast array of explanation; therefore, you may wish to read my book Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation (Llewellyn, 2003) for further clarification on various points of Witchcraft, including historical, researched and annotated material, or choose a different Craft-related book to enhance your understanding. Each lesson in this book contains a primary aspect for contemplation. For example, part one focuses on the aura. From this contemplation is borne the exercises for you to try. The exercises in each part can be used by new and experienced students alike. How you choose to incorporate them into your daily practice, and in what order you choose to do so, is up to you. Many of these exercises incorporate sacred symbols from a variety of cultures. You may be familiar with these symbols or they may be new to you. Although I have given brief explanations throughout the text, I urge you to carry your studies further as you work with each symbol, visiting the library, surfing the Internet, recording your dreams, etc.

In this book I provide a step-by-step study guide that any student can use to enhance his or her spiritual training. The material can be employed alone or in tandem with other occult-related books and lessons. Each part was designed to work from moon to moon, moving the student through five months of training that will be intensified by their own life experiences along the way. Use a sixth month to review what you have learned. Ö

May you be cleansed, blessed and regenerated in the names of the Lord and the Lady. So mote it be.

From A Witch's Notebook, by Silver RavenWolf


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