By N.P.S. Representative Sha She
1. Witch /wich/ n. 1. Sorceress, esp. a woman supposed to have dealings with the devil or evil spirits. 2. Hag. 3. Fascinating girl or woman. Witchdoctor tribal magician of primitive people. Witch Hazel 1. American shrub with bark yielding an astringent lotion. 2. this lotion. Witch-hunt campaign directed against a particular group of those holding unpopular or unorthodox views, esp. communists. Witching adj. Witch-like adj.
1. Enchantress, sibyl, pythoness. 2. fury, crone, gorgon, ogress. Witchdoctor-see sorcerer.
2. Witchcraft /wichkraft/ n. use of magic; sorcery.
3. Witchery /wicheree/ n. 1. Witchcraft. 2. Power exercised by beauty or eloquence or the like.
4. Pagan /paygen/ n. 1. nonreligious person; pantheist; heathen. 2. a person following a polytheistic or pantheistic religion. 3. Hedonist. Adj. 1a. of pagans. b. irreligious. 2. Pantheistic. paganish adj. paganism n. panagism n. nonbeliever, idolater, infidel, adj. 1. Idolatrous, gentile. See also Heathen.
5. No mention of Wicca anywhere.
Oxford University Press, Inc. (1997). Edited by Frank R. Abate. The Pocket Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus. American Edition. Oxford. “The World’s Most Trusted Dictionaries”.
It’s not hard to see in the definitions above the negative connotation to Witchcraft, Paganism, and the elimination of Wicca all together in the dictionary. This would be an example of the battle those who follow these traditions have lived with and continue to live with to this day. The sheer lack of explanation and outright fabrication of the foundation of these traditions is appalling and unjust. This article will shed some light on the subject. I am hoping those who have an interest, will be able to understand fully what these traditions value. Hopefully, it will answer the question; “Why so many turn to these paths to worship, grow, and practice?”
Let’s start out with some definitions that actually fit these traditions;
Wicca-A modern religion with spiritual roots in nature. The belief in the God and Goddess (no matter what the pantheon), reincarnation, magick (Magic = slight of hand/Parlor tricks. Magick = personal power combined with natural power for a expected outcome), ritual observances of astronomy and agricultural phenomenon, the use of magickal circles for rituals.
Witch-Practitioner of magick related to herbs, stones, colors, weather, moon cycles etc… A witch can be solitary (choosing to practice alone) or a member of a coven. This definition has nothing to do with Satanism-this has its own belief system.
Witchcraft-Is a religion of personal experiences and of personal choices. There are many categories as to the different foundations and traditions in which the witch may choose to follow as their path. The “craft” of the witch is by personal choice in which the witch uses her/his personal power in combination with the energies of natural objects and or tools.
Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism-These are followers of an Earth-based religion. Neo-Pagan distinguishes between historical pagans of ancient cultures and those of modern religious movements. However, some find the term offensive to contemporary Pagans because it disconnects them from their ancestors and ancestral heritage. A series of basic laws/rules are followed; multiple gods/goddesses (again the choice of which is up to the individual), holistic concept of an interconnected universe, deity is imminent in nature, universe is imbued with life force energy. Some Pagans believe there are specific spirits that inhabit various features of the natural world and they can actively communicate; animal spirits as spirit guides. All revere the planet as Mother Earth, The Great Mother, or Gaia.
Green Witch-Is a nature-based and earth oriented tradition that draws on Folklore and Folk Magick of ancient cultures. Green Witches practice a traditional form of Witchcraft where the earth, trees, herbs, and flowers are consulted for their medicinal and magickal value/addition. Most Green Witches grow their own herbs, plants, trees, flowers, and commune with nature to use as their herbal remedies. Deities are the choice of the witch and her individual cultural influence. Green Witches also acknowledge The Great Mother, Earth Mother and Gaia and additional deities are connected to the nature spirits; Fairies, Gnomes, Tree Spirits etc…
Now that a base line for these traditions have been laid, with a little better understanding of the differences, we will explore Green Witchcraft further for a better understanding. The number one rule among most traditions is the rule; “If it harm none, do what you will.” Meaning; whatever you choose to do (spell, magick, craft), your intention/energy should be pure (good/loving). An intention/energy directed to harm another (hurt, take something away, or cause distress) for self-gratification is manipulating energies to cause great harm (whether to another or yourself) and will come back to you.
Another rule of thumb is; Three Fold Law; if you’re intention is to harm another then that energy, will come back to you times three. The same applies if you are to send a healing energy (with loving intentions) to another, it will come back to you times three. Since we are all made up of energy, the belief is; we have the power to change not only what happens in our minds with our energy shifts/frequencies we also have the power to change our external reality with the help of natural objects such as; crystals, herbs, trees, etc…
Witchcraft in general is a spiritual journey of the individual within and starts with personal perspective and personal evaluations. You need to fully know yourself; your motivations, your intentions, your character before you even think of using magick. Let this be a warning to you; ego does not play a role in this practice. If you do not know yourself and your intentions then you are asking for trouble.
Practitioners with many years experience urge those who are considering Witchcraft (no matter what tradition) to study this tradition for a few years before you even think about performing any spells or purchasing any books on spells. This practice is not a game and can have some very serious consequences from the wrong intentions. A very high element of respect and trust is needed to make absolutely sure you have the best of intentions when performing any spells. Which leads us back to the first two laws; if it harm none, do what you will and the Three Fold Law. Please keep this in mind if you choose to further study this tradition.
Although solitary practitioners have a little more lee-way then those who are in a coven, it is still understood when you perform an initiation; it is because you fully recognize and agree to all the laws/rules of the tradition and take responsibility for yourself and your work. You respect yourself, respect the god and goddess, you acknowledge your responsibility to yourself and your tradition, and you most importantly respect others of the same tradition, as they would respect you. “In perfect love and perfect trust”; these words you hold dear to your heart because that is the basis of human kind along with gentle understanding and compassion.
In Green Witchcraft as in any tradition you are responsible for grounding and centering yourself so that your energies are pure and not effected by the mundane or negative environments. This is where communing with nature plays a key role. It is in nature, that we are able to see synchronicities, speak with nature, ground and center, regain our energy, ground negative energy, find peace, and ask for objects that will help in our spell-craft.
Most Green Witches grow their own herbs, plants, trees, etc… in belief that the loving energy given, will be reflected when harvesting to use in spell work. There is a more personal connection with the plant as opposed to finding one in nature. It is believed that when harvesting in nature, you are only allowed to take what is necessary for your craft. It is an honest and pure gesture to leave a gift, a symbol, food or whatever you choose to leave for the plant’s sacrifice and a generous “thank you”. Some traditions believe that if you say; “Thank you” it is a sign of disrespect. A fore-thought of a gift (a sacrifice for a sacrifice) is thought to be more courteous then simple muddled words.
To be green is to look at the world in a new perspective. Recycling, re-purposing, and re-using items help keep them out of landfills, in turn helping Mother Earth. Using a more basic approach to cooking (cast iron for example), crafts, divination, living, only having the necessities, making; oils, lotions and shampoos as opposed to buying them, removing yourself from main stream “gotta haves” to the more basic needs, finding peace in growing your own food.
These are all examples of areas in which Green Witches apply their knowledge and understanding. Some call it; “Back to Basics” but I like to refer to it as “a passing down of irreplaceable knowledge”. The whole idea is for the greater good, everyone can benefit from this knowledge that we seemed to have lost with modern day conveniences. What would happen if we had no choice but to go “Back to Basics”? How many people would turn to those with this knowledge? How many people are so dependent on modern day conveniences that they wouldn’t survive a week? Old folk remedies, knowledge, and applications will always be needed no matter what technology we have developed because it is all subject to human and mechanical error.
Irreverence of the definition of these traditions from the Oxford Pocket Dictionary and Thesaurus does not even come close to the heart of the foundation of these paths. To coin the phrase; “non believer” to me, is utterly disheartening from College reference material. If there is one thing about these traditions; it is a belief in a great many things and a set of core beliefs in humanity, understanding, compassion and most importantly love. I hope that this article helps remove doubt and fear as to the misinformation rapidly available to those seeking to understand. It is with hope, that soon the truth of these traditions will be public knowledge and any contention finally and unequivocally eliminated.
Suggested Reading Material;
Green Witchcraft-Folk Magic, Fairy Lore & Herb Craft by Ann Moura (Aoumiel)
Green Witchcraft II-Balancing Light & Shadow by Ann Moura (Aoumiel)
Green Witchcraft III-The Manual by Ann Moura (Aoumiel)
Green Magic-The Sacred Connection to Nature by Ann Moura
Grimoire For The Green Witch-A Complete Book Of Shadows by Ann Moura