Link to this Article: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/672
The Mysteries of Witchcraft
This article was written by Raven Grimassi
posted under Pagan
Have you ever wondered about your existence prior to your birth? Do you ever think about what happens after death, or wonder about the purpose of your existence? If so, you have touched upon the very mysteries that are the foundations of Witchcraft as a religion and spiritual path.
We live in a wondrous technological era that has opened many new vistas. We now know more about the Universe outside of our planet and within our own bodies. The idea of life on other worlds, and the concept of other dimensions of reality beyond our own, is no longer exclusive to science fiction.
Today we have an understanding that was not available to our ancestors, lending us an advantage. Science has exposed certain ancient beliefs as nothing more than mere superstition. However, science has also revealed that many ancient herbal and folk magic remedies are valid solutions and possess practical applications.
One area in which modern science has yet to catch up with ancient wisdom is that of magic and the mystical. Here we find the timeless secrets of the nature of our own souls, as well as the knowledge of the divine essence within all things. According to oral tradition, there have always been the keepers of such ancient knowledge and wisdom. They have been known by many names and titles throughout history, and among them we find the Druid and the Witch.
The majority of popular books today on Witchcraft often focus upon spells and rituals. The general theme of most Witchcraft and Wicca books is one of self-discovery and self-development. While such books are valuable, they can lack a connection to what is greater than the Self. How then do we merge with the higher nature and thereby enter into a relationship with the Cosmos, of which we are an integral part? Our ancestors preserved various methods, concepts, and techniques that were designed to aid the individual in gaining greater awareness. Over the centuries, Mystery Schools were developed to offer initiation and training in time-proven methods of spiritual enlightenment. In our current age of materialism and self-centered awareness, the ancient Mysteries are more important than ever.
Due to many factors, an individual may never have the opportunity in this life to encounter the Mystery Teachings. The ancient Mystery Schools are difficult to find, and teachers of the Old Ways are a minority in modern times. It is for this reason that I wrote a book titled Witchcraft: A Mystery Tradition. Readers of my new book will find a rich source of essential teachings and practical methods for training in the Mysteries. These are designed to help create internal alignments to the Divine Blueprint, which is the essence of the world of nature and beyond. In addition, the book provides a cohesive body of myths and ritual alignments, upon which anyone can construct their own tradition of Witchcraft or Wicca.
Over the span of more than three decades, I have devoted my life to the study of the ancient Mysteries. During this period I have also been initiated into several modern Witchcraft/Wicca traditions. This has provided me with the unique opportunity to compare the old and the new. What began as a personal interest in such comparisons became the formal process of writing this book.
As an author I have the privilege of meeting and corresponding with many practitioners of Witchcraft and Wicca throughout the United States and other parts of the World. One area of frustration among these practitioners is related to the rituals that comprise the Wheel of the Year. One consistent concern is that the popular Sabbats lack a unified cultural theme and mythos to carry them as one cohesive and interconnected body. Instead they can often appear as loosely related themes partially connected by seasonal ideas from various outside sources. Therefore they do not always share the same essential roots, which can result in a curious patchwork mixture of themes, deities, practices, and concepts.
To address this concern, and offer an alternative, I set about the task of applying an older cohesive theme to the template of modern Witchcraft and Wiccan Sabbats. I selected a Celtic foundation for the mythical associations related to each Sabbat. To this I added a congruent Celtic pantheon that best matched the Wheel of the Year, and provided an unbroken story line. This theme follows a matched and mated Goddess and God throughout the year in keeping with the seasonal transitions and with authentic myths and legends.
Witchcraft: A Mystery Tradition is the first book of its kind to aid priestesses and priests of the Craft in formulating an integrated Wheel of the Year system. It is also the first book to initiate the solitary Witch/Wiccan on the road to the Inner Mysteries. It is my honor to share this material, and I hope others will find it of value in their own journey.
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