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An Introduction to Witchcraft

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Hello again and Merry Meet! That’s an old greeting amongst witches dating way back when we were going through what we call “The Dark Times” or “The Burning Times.” This was a time, or times, when we were outlawed and hunted, persecuted for our faith, often killed for our faith. If you think witches are a secretive lot who don’t talk much about things to outsiders, it stems from this.

It was a password of sorts, part of the saying “Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.” It’s better now but declaring yourself to be a witch can still cause you trouble with the fanatical religious zealot crowd. Many of our Elders still remember and remind the younger witches.

Witchcraft is, at its heart, a faith, a religion, a philosophy. Perhaps the core difference between us and other faiths is our acceptance of more then a simple single male deity. Since most everything living on the planet has both male and female, we see that deity must also encompass this duality. Some witches acknowledge an unnamed God and Goddess, often called the Lord and the Lady, some follow a particular pantheon (Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse etc.) and some are more eclectic and work with many deities from many locations. It’s pretty free-form.

There’s no set liturgy or scriptures, nothing handed down from the hand of an angel or brought down from a mountaintop. Some traditions have writings from their founders, some use myths and legends as a guide. The most consistent thing you’ll find almost everywhere is called “The Witches Rede.” A very short charge, it says “If it harms none, do as you will.” We’re a very creative bunch and new rituals and traditions are being created constantly. In the tradition I was brought up in you’re required to create new rituals and ceremonies.

You may have heard the words “pagan,” “heathen,” “wiccan” and others and wondered what they meant. Pagan and heathen were originally derogatory terms used to try to insult practitioners of the Old Religions. Basically they meant “peasant” or “hillbilly,” one too unsophisticated to follow Christianity. Today pagan can mean anyone following a non-Abrahamic religion. The word heathen now has been claimed by followers of Germanic or Scandinavian traditions, since they wanted to distinguish between themselves and the newer wiccan traditions. Yet, it’s pretty fluid for all that.

A lot of other terms have been used over the years, neo-pagan, wiccan and such. No doubt this trend will continue as people seem to delight in setting themselves apart from others. The term “Wicca” has an advantage since Wicca is a recognized faith by the federal government.

There are books you should read to get a broader understanding of witchcraft. Here are some I’d recommend.

One of the major principles of witchcraft is getting in sync with the natural rhythms and cycle of the world around us. The solar cycle, the lunar cycle, the cycles of the seasons all are going on around us and we as a species evolved within those rhythms and patterns. But today we are very isolated from them. This makes us out of touch with the natural world.

So we observe the Full Moons and Dark Moons, the eight Sabbats that mark the Solar cycle and that slowly returns us to a balance within the earth’s cycles. Not every occasion is observed with a grand ritual or coven meeting. Simply taking a minute out of your day at the proper time to attune with the cycle is a way to work within the hustle and bustle of modern life. Shoot, if you’re at work at that time, just take a minute to run to the bathroom, lock yourself in a stall and observe the holyday for a moment or two.

Witchcraft is often called “the Craft of the Wise.” So am I here to give you wisdom? No, not really. Wisdom is gained through the quest for knowledge, it cannot be handed to you, or even taught to you. It’s not my place or in my ability to give you wisdom from on high. That simply isn’t how it works, as something easily or quickly gained is little valued and quickly forgotten.

As a priest of the Craft, my charge is to lead you to a place where you can learn for yourself and leave you to it. Some call this “kicking the ladder out from under you.” It’s kind of how your dad taught you to ride a bicycle. He’d steady you up, run along side you for a little, then he’d let go and it was up to you.

Some things you have to figure out yourself. It’s not that I’m just a mean old man (I am) but that there’s no other way for you to learn somethings. Hidden wisdoms that you have to ferret out on your own. A bit of wisdom from the craft states “As Above, So Below.” What does that mean? I could pontificate on its meanings but it won’t mean a thing to you until you gnaw on it enough to figure it out. And there’s always a new level to it endlessly.

So there’s your first primer on witchcraft. I’ll be writing more since there’s a lot more to cover, but for now we’ll leave it there. Gods and Goddesses, Cycles of Nature, quests for knowledge, hidden wisdoms. It’s a good start!

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you found it interesting. Please leave your comments, suggestions, questions, what have you in the comment section. And let me know what you’d like to see here next!

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Blessed Be!

Sterling Knight


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