Nocturnicon De Shadow : Forum : History


History

14 Years Ago


since pagan (wiccan) were presecuted and burned in the early years of christianity some of our history was lost and will never be found, as hard as it is for me to say this as long as our cultar and religion has been around our history is mostly destroyd and our elders burnd and tarrd at the stake drownd and prosecuted, fined and shot, all because we were diffrent because we practiced diffrent bielife other than the christian people, not for the fact we were harming any one, or doing any thing illegal at that, but for the fact we had a diffrent way of bieliving, due to certain cercum stances that I am going to get to more later on in this letter, our history is just now beeing made as we progress for freedom to practice what we bielive and worship how we worship in peace.

Please Take the time to read this letter and take a tour of what our history has to offer

~and do as ye will~ As it will harm none~

Paganism is a loose word for the large variety of polytheistic, shamanistic, and mystical non-monotheistic religions. Paganism exists in all cultures, from paleolithic to technological, but has historically waxed and waned. The ancient Egyptians are an example of a highly pagan society; so are the ancient Romans; and all paleolithic cultures from the Old Stone Age to the present have strong pagan elements. An example of a less pagan culture would be the West for the last thousand years or so, since the centuries following the Fall of Rome. The domination of the Middle East by Christians and Moslems has also largely shut out paganism.





Characteristic of paganism is a tolerance for other pagnistic ideas, even those that literally contradict one's own. Such persecutions as have been directed against paganistic religions by each other are by-products of political struggles and mass population movements rather than ideologically motivated. The same is to some extent true of early Judaism, which was the direct inheritor to the traditions of a strongly pagan society. A slave revolt apparently led to a few hundred thousand slaves with no place to live; to get them, they butchered the inhabitants of pagan cities and took up residence in the cities themselves. They invoked their war god to justify this action. Similarly, when the beginnings of the modern Greek mythology were laid down, it was as a result of invading Northern barbarians supplanting the earlier (and somewhat gynocentric) Titan mythology with their imported religion, which grew more refined and less aggressive later on, as happened with Judaism.




Before it came under the thumb of monotheism, the West was dominated by the highly civilized Roman culture. The Roman Republic and Empire were characterized by an unusually large number of religions together in a single social whole, frequently sharing the same geography and even the same temples. This explicitly eclectic (or "syncretistic", as it is more usually known in studies of the Romans) synthesis is more similar to modern neo-paganism than any other form of historical paganism I know of. However, it ended after the Christian emperors took over and Rome fell.




The post-pagan West experienced frequent resurgences of paganism in various forms. If we date this at 1000 CE for convenience, we see first the Inquisitorial period, where paganism was punished with death and torture. Then there comes the Renaissance, in which pagan symbolism and ideas in art and philosophy were somewhat more common than explicitly Christian ones. The Renaissance lasted until the 16th century. Note that the Inquisitions lasted effectively until the Enlightenment period, and were bad during the Renaissance, but ceased to be mostly ideologically motivated after the first three centuries. The Inquisition had become a political arm of the Vatican, a force useful in many ways other than suppressing heresy. It spent much of its time accomplishing political, antifeminist, and covert goals of the Church. We see in the trial of the Templars in the fourteenth century that uncommonly faithful people were caught in a secular political struggle between the King of France and the Pope. They were routinely tortured, the usual prompted confessions were given, and they were executed, for reasons having nothing to do with ideology or heresy except as excuses.




It is also during the Renaissance that we begin to have evidence of what we may consider explicitly religious paganism again. Most of the grimoires we have date from this era; alchemists, often overtly Christian but employing pagan symbolism and texts, were most common during the Renaissance; the Kabbalah and Tarot originate in the Renaissance, forming the backbone of modern pagan symbolism. The Renaissance also saw the obscure origins of a rebirth, in improved form, of Greek humanism, technically pagan because of its suppression by Christian Rome and its use of theistic symbols.




The Reformation was again a less pagan period; Protestant rulers like Elizabeth and James carried out their own anti-heresy pogroms, annihilating most evidence of witchcraft. Of particular interest in the Reformation is Scot's "The Discoverie of Witchcraft", which presents the humanist and rationalist perspective on witches which has generally triumphed today: that witch accusations were more often driven by factors such as ugliness, personal enmity, poverty, and so forth than on ideological grounds, and that in fact there were no witches. This is probably true only of the later Inquisitorial period. Earlier on, the Inquisition certainly did help in the temporary stamping out of paganism; so if pagans are witches, there were witches.




We need not bother much with Murray's supposedly anthropological study of English witchcraft in the Inquisitorial period, except to note that it has been devoutly accepted by many modern pagans, and to point out some of its flaws. Based on late Inquisitorial evidence and the consistency of the confessions obtained by the Inquistors, and tossing in some disjointed scraps of English folk history and legend, Murray asks us to believe that a paleolithic subculture lasted in England, living semi-naked in the bushes, until nearly the beginning of the Reformation at least, and possibly until the current day. Of course late Inquistorial confessions were consistent; they were practically dictated to the torture victim. A much better account of the relationship of paganism to Christianity before and during England's post-pagan period is Jessi Weston's classic "From Ritual to Romance". Its conclusions were derived from decades of intense study of the Grail mythology and its anthropological, mythological, and social context.




As a parting note on the Reformation, we may note the peculiar phenomenon of court astrologers and alchemists and their ilk, the most notable examples being the sorcerer John Dee and the seer Edward Kelley under Elizabeth. These were the inheritors of Paracelsus and the other alchemists and Christian medicine doctors, using pagan symbols and methods with a veil of Christian symbolism. Kelley stopped the work of Dee and Kelley under unknown circumstances; he is said to have been told by the angels to form a group sex arrangement with Dee and his wife, which they supposedly did for a while; in another version, Kelley was driven from the work by a prophecy of a new age dawning, which was heresy.




So, on to the Enlightenment of the seventeenth century. This was more humanistic than religious, though humanism is a religion on alternate Tuesdays; it all depends which of the many reasonable definitions you use. In any case, the seventeenth centuries saw the first applications of the renewed Greek humanism that originated in the Renaissance. The counter-Christian current was running stronger; more and more, people were beginning to demand equal treatment for all, and freedom from the rigid boundaries of thought and expression imposed on them by governments and churches alike. This humanism has colored most "opposition" religious movements in America since this time, much for the better in my opinion. This is because principles of respect for the individual were put into the American system of government (as an afterthought - the humanistic heyday had ended in the 1780's in America, and the new would-be ruling class had to be forcibly reminded), and the governmental structure was such that it was able to make progress in its understanding of freedom.




Things did not work out quite so well in France's humanistic revolution, largely due to Robespierre, the atheistic moral grandfather of Stalin and Pol Pot. He interpreted opposition to monarchy as punishing high birth with low death, and then set out ruthlessly to purge opposition and deviation. Soon monarchy was re-established in France.




The nineteenth century was a period of resurgence of paganism. The neo-classical movement was explicitly devoted to rediscovering the virtues of the highly pagan societies Rome and Greece. This movement was to be by far the dominant force of the century. Humanism was further applied to the institution of slavery, resulting in war and social upheaval. The Prometheans such as Blake, Shelley, Byron, and so forth were widely considered to be among the greatest luminaries of the period.




The method of science and its results made available much more information on religions of the East and of less civilized cultures. Contact between religiously different but politically equal forces invariably leads to mutual excuses for the other, largely to help keep trade going, but also as a result of time spent in foreign climes observing the practice of religion. This creates, although not in great numbers at first, a different attitude toward religions than the dogmatic denial of all other religions possible only under a large and self-sufficient monolithic theocracy. Other religions are seen as not neccessarily conflicting with one's own any more than another art movement does with one's own favorite.




There was a more open resurgence of sorcery in less overtly Christian forms, particularly in the last half of the century. This attracted many notable adherents, and from the publication of "The Magus" by Barrett in 1801, created a magical library in modern English which is still widely read and used. It used the work of Renaissance magicians, court sorcerors, Kabalists, and so forth, and attempted to apply the psychological principles of the day in various original fudgings. There was also the Theosophical movement, largely discredited by Blavatsky's proven cheating on tests of psychic powers, and rather more like spiritualism with Eastern allusions than any Eastern religion.




The psychical movement, which changed its name to parapsychology, grew out of spiritualism, which grew out of mesmerism, which was apparently fairly original and totally ludicrous, but did yield the secret of hypnotism. This led legitimate investigators to examining the claims of other groups usually brushed off as mystical. The early Society for Psychical Research, founded in 1882 and led by prominent scientists such as the American psychologist William James, was formed "first, to carry on systematic experimentation with hypnotic subjects, mediums, clairvoyants, and others; and, secondly, to collect evidence concerning apparitions, haunted houses, and similar phenomena which are incidentally reported, but which, from their fugitive nature, admit of no deliberate control."




It is to be noted that there is still, a century later, no replicable experiment to demonstrate the existence of anything but hypnotic subjects in this list. It is also worth noting that while general models of the layout of the psyche continue to be employed in psychotherapy, there is still no generally agreed upon experimental methodology to falsify features of these models. Finally, it should be noted that the ritual magic methods employed by many pagans, in other times as well as today, still have not been placed under real scientific scrutiny to determine whether or not they produce any physically measurable effects. (My feeling is that such effects are limited in scope to participants in the rituals and people who have knowledge of their occurrence, whether such knowledge is true or false.)




Various factions of magicians struggled to survive in the early half of the twentieth century, against an increasingly Christian atheist culture; that is, a materialistic populace considered almost exclusively with day-to-day life and easy entertainment, but still paying occassional lip service to Christianity and suspicious of all other religions. Most of the inheritors of nineteenth-century magical paganism were hopelessly fragmented and dogmatized, incapable of working together and resolving their differences.




In the late forties, Gerald Gardner began publishing books on witchcraft. Gardner was a known associate of Crowley's and his rituals use a lot of symbolism drawn from Crowley, but only a few actual references to Crowley. He is also reported to have associated with Theosophist groups. Crowley was one of the chief inheritors of the jumble left at the end of the nineteenth century, as well as a traveller and student in Eastern lands. In any case, Gardner (after Crowley) called for yet another neo-classicism, following the pattern of all the other resurgences of Graeco-Roman paganism, but more explicitly religious.




The laudable looseness of Gardner's system was more attractive to magically inclined people than the Golden Dawn and Theosophy splinters remaining. It freed them to create on their own, and they went at it with a vengeance. One reason for the greater effective freedom was that Gardner was not as hard an act to follow as many of the Golden Dawn leaders. He was soon gone beyond by his students, many of whom went off to form their own Gardnerian splinters and mythological histories of their origin.




Another reason was the less formidable Gardnerian system of initiation. Most magical groups had complex multi-layered spiritual hierarchies. These were supposed to represent psychological fact, but little in the way of acceptable empirical observation was used to correct these schemes, mostly drawn from loose interpretations of the Kaballa, and they can't be said to have really compelling inter-individual force. These were replaced by a simple hierarchy of three grades. This was the high-level structure of the Golden Dawn, and of a number of Masonic groups, which divided their degrees into categories. The third grade was no longer reserved for secret chiefs who almost certainly never existed or for mythological prophets, and the initiations had a more joyful and celebratory character, rather than a system of awful psychological ordeals. (I feel that the emphasis on ordeals and spiritual hierarchy was a product of Christian influence, with the triumph of martyrdom as a supreme spiritual experience and the hierarchic nature of the Church, and that a simpler formula based on Thelemic growth, like the dominant neo-pagan formula, rather than Christian death/rebirth is more appropriate.)




A common claim among neo-pagans is that paganism was suddenly revealed to the world in the fifties after centuries of hiding. This is demonstrably false; all that is needed is a bit of history, textual analysis, and symbolic comparison to see how close neo-paganism (as the movement came to be known in the sixties) is to its known historical antecedents. But mythological histories are themselves traditional in world religions. While it is important to know the real history of a religion, this does not invalidate the possible value of mythological tales of the origin, because these serve as fictional statements of intent, often incorporating powerful symbolism. They have literary value in this respect; and literary or other artistic value is a type of spiritual value.




Modern religious paganism has made a unique contribution. No eclectic/pagan movement of the historical past has brought the contributions of paleolithic shamanism into the fold as well as has neo-paganism. In large part this is due to a rise in knowledge of such religions at the same time as the rise of neo-paganism. This is an extremely valuable contribution; in shamanism lies the roots of all human religion. A coven meeting still resembles a GD lodge considerably more than it does a shamanistic lodge, despite the valuable addition of techniques originating in shamanism.




This has been a neccessarily brief and incomplete account. I have not mentioned Rabelais, the Rosicrucians, the decadent poets, Nietzsche, de Sade, Levi, Gurdjieff, James, Augustine, Shakespeare, Masonry, Paine, American utopian communities, Jung, Merlin, art and spirit, or Gnosticism, all of which are vital elements of the story; I have given short shrift to the psychical movement and its influence on nineteenth and twentieth century paganism; and I have neglected many other relevant topics. But I hope this will suffice as a brief overview of the pagan history preceding neo-paganism.




Lithuania, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, has had a very intriguing role in European development, in various ways: militarily, economically, politically and religiously. It was the last country to accept Christianity, in 1387, as part of the marriage agreement between Grand Duke Jogaila and Jadwiga, Queen of Poland. The new faith lived in conjunction with the old nature-based beliefs; and well into the twentieth century in certain regions.

Modern Lithuanians are an unusual amalgam of Catholicism and a fierce pride in their pagan past. Many will proudly state that Grand Duke Jogaila and his cousin Grand Duke Vytautas the Great defeated the Crusading Teutonic Order. The language was nearly wiped out when it was under the auspices of the Russian Empire -- But it endured, and to this day Lithuanians are fiercely protective of both their language and of their culture.

~Important~Breaks~In~Pagan~History~





1688 - Birthday of Emangel Swedenborg, Scientist.


1696 - Official Confession of Errors by Jurors of Salem Witch Trials issued.


1787 - Final Witchcraft Laws repealed in Austria.


1854 - Birth of MacGregor Mathers, one of the founders of Golden Dawn.


1945 - Death of Psychic Edgar Cayce.


1946 - Dion Fortune, member of Golden Dawn Dies.


1971 - Patricia Crowther's radio show, A Spell of Witchcraft airs in Britain.


1988 - Jamie Dodge wins lawsuit against the Salvation Army, which fired her for being a Wiccan.


1994 - Aquarian Tabernacle church registered in Australia.





1274 - Deathe of Thomas Aguines, Catholic Scholar who wrote that "Heresy" was a product of ignorance and therefore criminal.


1521 - Pope Leo X issues a Bull to ensure that the Secular Courts would execute those convicted of Witchcraft, by the Inquisition.


1728 - Death of Cotton Mathers, minister at the Salem Witch Trials.


1882 - Society of Psychical Research, devoted to paranormal studies, founded in London.


1965 - Gerald Gardner, founder of the Gardnerian Tradition dies of Heart Failure.


1975 - Zsusanna Budapest arrested and later convicted for Fortune Telling.





1199 - Pope Innocent III issues a Bull to establish the Inquisition.


1311 - Pope Clement persuaded by Phillip IV to suppress the Templar Order.


1563 - Elizabethan Statute against Witchcraft enacted.


1661 - Arrest of Florence Newton, one of the few people burned as a Witch in Ireland.


1692 - Preliminary Hearings in the Salem Witch Trials.


1888 - (1st) Golden Dawn is Formed.


1888 - (21st) Inauguration of Isis-Urania Temple of the Golden Dawn and initiation of Moina Mathers.


1890 - William Butler Yeats uis initiated into the Isis-Urania Temple of the Golden Dawn.


1968 - Church of All Worlds(CAW) incorporates in Missouri, becoming the first Wiccan Church to do so in the United States.


1975 - Covenant of the Goddess(COG) is formed.





1579 - Conviction of Witches at the second of four famous trials at Chelmsford, England.


1634 - Death of Elias Ashmole, healer and Philosopher.


1662 - First confession of Witchcraft by Isobel Gowdie, whose case is unusual, because she confessed without torture in Scotland.


1670 - Burning of Major Weir, alledged Scottish Sorcerer.


1880 - Birthday of Montague Summers, Witchcraft Scholar.


1896 - William Alexander Aynton initiated into the Golden Dawn.


1900 - Aleister Crowley breaks into the Golden Dawn Temple, providing the catalyst for the demise of the original Golden Dawn.


1972 - Church of All Worlds(CAW) is Founded.


1974 - Adoption of the Principles of Wiccan Belief at the "Witch Meet" in St.Paul Minnesota.


1989 - USA Today reports that Patricia Hutchins is the first Military Wiccan, granted religious leave for The Sabbatts.







1431 - (30th) JOAN OF ARC, is Burned at the Stake for Heresy/Witchcraft.


1608 - The Compendium Maleficarum is written and published.


1659 - Massachusets Bay Colony Puritans ban Christmas celebrations, because they are too Pagan.


1660 - Widow Robinson of Kidderminster, England is arrested for using magic to try to prevent the return of Charles II from exile.


1662 - Final confessions of Witchcraft by Isobel Gowdie without torture.


1776 - Order of Illumination formed.


1776 - Death of Arnold Crowther.


1920 - (9th) ST.JOAN OF ARC is Canonized.


1938 - Long Island Church of Aphrodite is founded by Rev. Gleb Botkin.


1988 - Adoption of the Earth Religion Anti-Abuse Act.





1233 - Law introduced in Germany to encourage conversion, rather than burning of Heretics and Witches.


1542 - Pope Paul III issues a Bull, LICET AB INITIO, making the Inquisition in Rome the central authority on Heretics.


1563 - Witchcraft Act takes affect in England.


1604 - James I's, Witchcraft Act repeals Elizabeth I's 1563 mandate and replaces it with stricter laws.


1648 - Margaret Jones becomes the first person executed as a Witch in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


1692 - Hanging of Bridget Bishop, the first to die in the Salem Witch Trials.


1743 - Birthday of Allesandro di Cagliostro, Magician.


1951 - Final Witchcraft laws in England are repealed.


1970 - Church of All Worlds, chartered with the IRS.


1988 - Marriage of Margot Adler is first Handfasting to be carried in the New York Times society





-1492 - Death of Pope Innocent III, who issued the famous Anti-Witchcraft Bull SUMMIS DESIDERANTES AFFECTIBUS.


1540 - Lord Hunterford executed in England for treason, for consulting Mother Roche a Witch, and speculating on the King's death.


1549 - Trial of Joan Prentice, who was accused of sending an IMP in the form of a Ferret to bite the children.


1566 - Confession of Witches at the first of four major Witch Trials in Chelmford, England.


1566 - Death of Nostradamus.


1589 - Conviction of Witches at the third of four famous Witch Trials at Chelmford, England.


1612 - Jennet Preston becomes the first of the "MALKIN TOWER" Witches to be hanged.


1692 - Rebecca Nurse hanged in Salem,Massachusetts.


1981 - Scott Cunningham initiated into the Ancient Pictish Gaelic Way.


1988 - First recorded appearance of CROP CIRCLES in Silbury Hill, England.


1992 - First airing of "The Witching Hour" a pagan radio show on WONX in Evanston, Illinois.









1313 - Aradia de Toscano said to be born in Volterra, Italy.


1612 - Execution of the Lancashire, England Witches.


1623 - Order of the Rosy Cross established in Paris.


1634 - Father Urbain Grandier, found guilty of Bewitching Nuns in Loudoun, England.


1692 - John Willard and Reverand George Burroughs put to death in the Salem Witch Trials.


1824 - Birthday of Charles Godfrey Leland, Author of Aradia, Gospel of Witches.


1989 - Church of Wicca, founded in Australia by Lady Tamara Von Forslun.





1179 - Death of Hildegard Von Bingen, medieval Saint and Metaphysician.


1486 - Birthday of Henry Cornelius Agrippa, scholar and Magician.


1603 - Else Pfraum, a baker from Koppern, Germany sentenced to death for Witchcraft.


1692 - Death of Giles Corey in Salem, Massachusetts.


1964 - BEWITCHED debuts on ABC-TV.


1985 -Senate passes amendment denying Tax-Exempt status to Wiccan Groups.





1306 - Jacques De Molay and other French Templars arrested by King Phillip.


1306 - De Morlay and 31 other Templars confess to Heresy in front of the Clergy, only later to recant their confessions.


1888 -Death of Eliphas Levi, Ceremonial Magician.


1896 - MacGregor Mathers issues manifesto naming himself Supreme Leader of The Golden Dawn.


1974 - Circle Sanctuary Founded.


1982 - Sibyl Leek dies of Cancer.





1324 - Petronella De Meath, servant of Lady Alice Kyteler; is executed in the first recorded Witch Burning in Ireland.


1576 - Bessie Dunlop condemned for fraternizing with the Elfin Court, Scotland.


1595 - Edward Kelly's death is noted in the Diary of Dr. John Dee.


1605 - Guy Fawkes plots to blow up the House of Lords, celebration of Fawes death (GUY FAWKES DAY) merges with Halloween tradition in England.


1610 - Sentencing of the Witches of Zuggaramduri.


1898 - Aleister Crowley initiated into the Golden Dawn as Frater Perdurabo.


1907 - Birthday of Israel Regardie, Occultist and member of the (OTO).


1924 - Birthday of Theodore Parker Mills, Pagan Teacher and Elder.


1979 - Aquarian Tabernacle Church established in the United States.


1992 - Church of All worlds incorporated in Australia.


1993 - Aquarian Tabernacle Church established in Canada.


1995 - Henge of Keltria, Celtic Neopagan Druid organization, incorporates as a non-profit.









1484 - Pope Innocent VIII reverses the "CANON EPISCOPI" by issuing a Bull "SUMMIS DESIDERANTES AFFECTIBUS".


1484 - The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches Hammer) is written and introduced to the Catholic Church.


1503 - Birthday of Nostradamus.


1890 - Birthday of Dion Fortune, member of the golden Dawn.


1890 - Death of Jacob Sprenger, co-author of "THE MALLEUS MALEFICARUM".


1947 - Death of Alister Crowley.





As there is more history in pagan history than can be compiled in a letter like this, I am puting what is of the most important and as I come accross it I will be adding to this letter.
the only possible way to make a diffrence in society is fighting for what you bielive in and taking a stand, as well as educating the people on our religion and what we see and why.






Modern-day Easter is derived from two ancient traditions: one Judeo-Christian and the other Pagan. Both Christians and Pagans have celebrated death and resurrection themes following the Spring Equinox for millennia. Most religious historians believe that many elements of the Christian observance of Easter were derived from earlier Pagan celebrations.




The equinox occurs each year on March 20, 21 or 22. Both Neopagan and Christian continue to celebrate religious rituals in the present day.Wiccan and other Neopagan usually hold their celebrations on the day or eve of the equinox. Western Christians wait until the Sunday on or after the next full moon. The Eastern Orthodox churches follow a different calculation; their celebration is often many weeks after the date selected by the Western churches.




Since Gerald Gardner revived the Witch movement with his Neo-Wiccan ideals, many Traditions, especially in the past decade, have trained themselves and their fellow coven members to believe their path is the proper and true way to Witchcraft. This has bled over into the solitaire community, causing many so-called "experts" to shun anyone's interest in studying the Pagan lifestyle, or the Pagan who has already settled themselves into a tradition which suits the practitioner best.



I believe, as many of my fellow Pagans do - What we know for sure, is that we know nothing for sure.


There are as many Earth-based/Pagan beliefs and traditions as there are Pagans. The list goes on and on, not including eclectic Pagans, who combine several or more beliefs to form their own style of honoring the God and the Goddess.


The history of Witchcraft can be traced as far back as the Stone-age. Although the term for these beliefs was not known at that time as Witchcraft or Wicca, it was practiced by most of the population. As time continued, humans evolved and the thought process became stronger, they began applying more structure to their beliefs. Rituals, understanding the use of certain herbs, charting the stars in the sky, and the sun's path during the daytime was all a part of attuning themselves with the Universe...the all.


Humans eventually became so in tune with the rhythm of Mother Earth, that they thrived. And in thanks for their continued survival and standard of living for the time, they thanked Mother Earth and all her aspects...the divine.


We have so little un-biased documentation on Pagan history, that it is difficult to say what is right and what is wrong. The Christians of modern-day are and have been in a constant struggle with the interpretation of the bible. Because of this struggle to understand and of the 'scholarly' who oppose all other translations, there is a battle of the bible as to who God is and how one is to live their lives.


A parents position is to teach their child not only their morals and beliefs but to believe in themselves. It is up to the child upon growing to adulthood, to find what is right for him/her in their search for the divine. Too many parents are giving up their rights as a parent by leaving it up to teachers, ministers, peers and politicians to decide how to live their lives and what to worship.


It starts in the home. It starts with the understanding that there are differences in all of us. Just look around! There are many, many cultures, races and religious beliefs just in the present. Many more have been documented throughout history and will continue on into the future. We may all be human beings, but we all have individual personalities and thoughts. No matter which way you look at it, no one person or group can change the very fabric of our souls. We will always be different in some way. That makes way for a rebellious nature in order to preserve what the Goddess and the God has given us since the beginning - the nature to grow and create.


In the past, many cultures and beliefs have sought ways to control that very nature - to discontinue the natural evolvement of human souls - out of fear and ignorance. It is not up to the individual or the majority to decide what is right and what is wrong. We already have basic laws in our modern culture which prevents harm to others in one form or another. This is nothing new. Throughout our existence we have always believed in the 'Harm none' rule, or 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. Most of us have a an inherent understanding of this that no one can change, laws or no laws.


In the present, however, it is a well known fact that many have fought for their rights to be individuals while still maintaining this basic understanding. Yet there are still those that wish to see their beliefs pushed onto others for the sake of God, or Allah, or Isis, or Cerridwen. Need I remind you of the Burning Times? The inquisition? The wars in Israel? Jordan? Hitler?


We are all knowledgeable and creative creatures. It is in our very spirit to grow and learn the life path so that we obtain the divine that lies dormant in all of us. We are a part of the All....the same but different. There is no one path to worship or the divine. We all gain our strengths from different beliefs and traditions.


Instead of belittling or shunning those who would learn about Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism or the many other forms of religion we wish to follow, we should share the knowledge, wisdom and divine essence that moves us all in the common direction.


Because there are those who bite the heads off of people who are misinformed and innocently ignorant of Pagan history - which I have pointed out is not without its lack of written understanding - they push away that potential to share their knowledge and instead rise upon a pedestal; cemented over the heads of the unenlightened and the misguided.


I ask this, of my Pagan brothers and sisters - if you have studied or practiced your beliefs far longer than another, and believe that a new student of the Craft, or another belief is mistaken about a particle of history or a badly written history book - it is up to you to bring your knowledge to those who would be students - fairly, honestly, without bias and without bashing. The quickest way to destroy the Pagan community, is to divide it and shun it. If you are a part of the Pagan community, then I believe it is up to all of us to teach the young, learn from the old and be fair and respectful to all those who would listen.


We fancy our Pagan beliefs in the knowledge that all paths are valid. Why don't we put our Pentacles where our mouths

Since Gerald Gardner revived the Witch movement with his Neo-Wiccan ideals, many Traditions, especially in the past decade, have trained themselves and their fellow coven members to believe their path is the proper and true way to Witchcraft. This has bled over into the solitaire community, causing many so-called "experts" to shun anyone's interest in studying the Pagan lifestyle, or the Pagan who has already settled themselves into a tradition which suits the practitioner best.

I believe, as many of my fellow Pagans do - What we know for sure, is that we know nothing for sure.


There are as many Earth-based/Pagan beliefs and traditions as there are Pagans. The list goes on and on, not including eclectic Pagans, who combine several or more beliefs to form their own style of honoring the God and the Goddess.


The history of Witchcraft can be traced as far back as the Stone-age. Although the term for these beliefs was not known at that time as Witchcraft or Wicca, it was practiced by most of the population. As time continued, humans evolved and the thought process became stronger, they began applying more structure to their beliefs. Rituals, understanding the use of certain herbs, charting the stars in the sky, and the sun's path during the daytime was all a part of attuning themselves with the Universe...the all.


Humans eventually became so in tune with the rhythm of Mother Earth, that they thrived. And in thanks for their continued survival and standard of living for the time, they thanked Mother Earth and all her aspects...the divine.


We have so little un-biased documentation on Pagan history, that it is difficult to say what is right and what is wrong. The Christians of modern-day are and have been in a constant struggle with the interpretation of the bible. Because of this struggle to understand and of the 'scholarly' who oppose all other translations, there is a battle of the bible as to who God is and how one is to live their lives.


A parents position is to teach their child not only their morals and beliefs but to believe in themselves. It is up to the child upon growing to adulthood, to find what is right for him/her in their search for the divine. Too many parents are giving up their rights as a parent by leaving it up to teachers, ministers, peers and politicians to decide how to live their lives and what to worship.


It starts in the home. It starts with the understanding that there are differences in all of us. Just look around! There are many, many cultures, races and religious beliefs just in the present. Many more have been documented throughout history and will continue on into the future. We may all be human beings, but we all have individual personalities and thoughts. No matter which way you look at it, no one person or group can change the very fabric of our souls. We will always be different in some way. That makes way for a rebellious nature in order to preserve what the Goddess and the God has given us since the beginning - the nature to grow and create.


In the past, many cultures and beliefs have sought ways to control that very nature - to discontinue the natural evolvement of human souls - out of fear and ignorance. It is not up to the individual or the majority to decide what is right and what is wrong. We already have basic laws in our modern culture which prevents harm to others in one form or another. This is nothing new. Throughout our existence we have always believed in the 'Harm none' rule, or 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. Most of us have a an inherent understanding of this that no one can change, laws or no laws.


In the present, however, it is a well known fact that many have fought for their rights to be individuals while still maintaining this basic understanding. Yet there are still those that wish to see their beliefs pushed onto others for the sake of God, or Allah, or Isis, or Cerridwen. Need I remind you of the Burning Times? The inquisition? The wars in Israel? Jordan? Hitler?


We are all knowledgeable and creative creatures. It is in our very spirit to grow and learn the life path so that we obtain the divine that lies dormant in all of us. We are a part of the All....the same but different. There is no one path to worship or the divine. We all gain our strengths from different beliefs and traditions.


Instead of belittling or shunning those who would learn about Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism or the many other forms of religion we wish to follow, we should share the knowledge, wisdom and divine essence that moves us all in the common direction.


Because there are those who bite the heads off of people who are misinformed and innocently ignorant of Pagan history - which I have pointed out is not without its lack of written understanding - they push away that potential to share their knowledge and instead rise upon a pedestal; cemented over the heads of the unenlightened and the misguided.


I ask this, of my Pagan brothers and sisters - if you have studied or practiced your beliefs far longer than another, and believe that a new student of the Craft, or another belief is mistaken about a particle of history or a badly written history book - it is up to you to bring your knowledge to those who would be students - fairly, honestly, without bias and without bashing. The quickest way to destroy the Pagan community, is to divide it and shun it. If you are a part of the Pagan community, then I believe it is up to all of us to teach the young, learn from the old and be fair and respectful to all those who would listen.


We fancy our Pagan beliefs in the knowledge that all paths are valid. Why don't we put our Pentacles where our mouths are ?






The Holiday Yule (Christmast)
Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.

Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs.











In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims's second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out "pagan mockery" of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated "that sacred event." In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.

In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable�not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.

By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.

The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.