Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Craig Spencer, author of the new Aradia.
Traditional Witchcraft has become a rapidly popular subject within our community; this is largely due to the fact that it is readily accessible to a wide audience. However, one of the main components that is not often discussed is what defines this branch of witchcraft as traditional. The answer is simple: traditional witchcraft is regional witchcraft. It is a practice founded in the landscape of its practitioners. The tradition then is local tradition.
One of the best ways to start out on the road of Traditional Witchcraft is to build a relationship with the spirit of the land. By connecting to this spirit you are opening yourself up to the mysteries that are locked into the energetic landscape that surround you every day. Growing up in the Northwest of England I was privileged to have been raised with a rich culture and magical tradition which infuses every aspect of my Craft.
My favourite local myth is about the spirit of the land: the Lancashire Dragon.
Tale of the Two Dragons
In the distant past, as the story goes, the people of Lancashire where working the land ready for construction when they discovered a large stone object buried deep in the ground. Working hard to uncover the object they discovered a large stone coffin or chest; thinking that they had discovered a great treasure the townspeople decided to open the stone structure.
Once the lid was removed the people were awestruck as two large dragons, one red and the other white, emerged from the stone vessel. The two creatures flew high into the sky battling as they went, causing great destruction upon the land. Legend says they were fighting over the unclaimed land in which they had been buried as it was a neutral space not truly belonging to either Lancashire or neighbouring Yorkshire.
In the end it was the Red Dragon of Lancashire that came out victorious and the two dragons returned to the space under their respective lands to rest. Shortly after the battle was over roses began to grow over the two counties, marking the territories of each dragon. In Yorkshire the white rose grew and in Lancashire the red rose was seen. This, it is said, is the origin of our counties’ rose symbols, which are still used today.
Connecting to the Spirit of the Land
To build a connection to your local spirit, find a flower or tree that is considered a symbol of your area. Is there a spirit-being that acts as the personified guardian of the land? Those who live in countries with surviving indigenous cultures should also look there for information of the local land guardian. Bring these symbols into your rituals or include them on your altar space. Make this process personal to the spirit that you are connecting with. By honouring this vital force you acquire a powerful protector and teacher who can reveal information to you that will deepen your magic and Craft.
Our thanks to Craig for his guest post! For more from Craig Spencer, read his article “Aradia: 5 Facts Every Witch Should Know.”