by Jesse Potter aka Elkin Vanaeon
On this ninth day of August in the year of our Lord and Lady 2005 CE
The direction of my writing will now focus on the pagan religion of Wicca, whose peoples of earth-centered beliefs are known as the "Craft of the Wise", or the 'Craft', a term relating to the old religion dating back to the pre-history of Paleolithic times. The dating of Wicca in terms of language is found through the historical records of the Saxon tribes. The Saxon branch of pagan peoples dated prior to 499 CE, whose language defined the specific terms of 'Wic,' 'Wicca,' 'Wicce,' 'Wiccan,' 'Wit,' and 'Wittan' within their vocabulary. They were defined as:
The beliefs of the people of Wicca consider the Divine as having the balanced aspects of 'Goddess and God', seen as the Lady and the Lord. They are portrayed through the nature of humanity in the differences between man and woman and in the elemental life giving aspects of nature as the wind, the warmth of the sun, water from wells, rivers and lakes and the earth in which seeds are planted for the harvest. The majority of Wiccan traditions consider both male and female aspects equally, though some may emphasize only the role of the feminine aspect of Deity. This is reflected in the traditions of clergy, which must include a priestess and may include both priestesses and priests. Most Wiccan traditions have similar creeds and rules. They celebrate the eight great festivals of the wheel of the year, as the Sabbats and Esbats of the seasons, and teach of respect and honor of both man and woman, with life celebrated with reverence and through dance, music, and song. The times of birth, manhood, womanhood, hand-fasting, and the passage of death are celebrated with rites of respect and honor, seen as mystical qualities of life that are felt from the soul, expressed beyond the barriers of language.
Now I get to mention one of my many peeves when it comes to the historical aspects of paganism and the craft. Revisionists constantly attempt to glorify the early Pagans and the conditions in which they lived, portraying them in a manner very unrealistic of the times and periods they lived. The many Saxon, Picts, and Celtic tribes constantly warred with and against each other for resources and the needs of survival, just as all other people have since the beginning of time. However, they did work to separately build societies, intermarry, and formed alliances when in need, such as fighting a common foe like the Romans. They each celebrated earlier forms of religion that involved and evolved into different forms of the Craft that were differentiated only by the naming of deities, languages and culture.
Historically speaking, the terms "Witan" and "Witchcraft" were introduced into language and culture of the people of Britain around the year 449 CE. These terms were not mentioned negatively within the laws of the many Dooms and Laws of Britain for over 450 years until the year 901 CE, when the Roman Catholic Church began to mandate witchcraft laws through the monarchs of that time:
The terms "Witan" and "Witchcraft" did begin to be used as negative expressions within the Dooms between 901 - 939 CE, stating that those who practiced the arts of the Old religion of divination and witchcraft were to be driven from the country or put to death:
The Bible had only begun being translated into Saxon around 709 CE by Aldhelm, the Abbot of Malmesbury and Bishop of Sherborne. Cultural bias had already been established by the past conflicts between the many tribes of the Celts, Danes and internally with the Saxon Witan. Aldhelm had previously met Patrick of Ireland who was avidly against any form of paganism and his views were later carried into the translations, which eventually led to the later laws against pagan beliefs of the Old Religion. Political monarchs and the church used secular scholars to portray the religious and political bias of that particular region towards witchcraft by inappropriately using the terms as negative connotations in the later Mid-English language translations of the bible as well as 'Laws of the Realm' based on Roman Catholic doctrines. They preyed upon the superstitious fears of the unknown as well as the needs of people to blame someone or something for the problems of the world. This was and still is being accomplished by many political and religious entities that direct perceived wrongs as issues through the selective persecution of peoples they declare as evil. It is in this context that by feeding on people's fears of illness, sickness, old age, and even death that such religions are accountable for the acts of terrorism inflicted on minorities of people. Those are actions of anger, hatred, reproach, and persecution directed towards selected minorities of people in order to appease and promote the perceived means of achieving love, peace, prosperity, and hope among the majority of their own people.
The beliefs and superstitions of satanic and demonic beings, Black Masses, and pacts with the devil as the adversarial belief of Satanism had evolved from the Judeo, Christian, and Islamic religions as principles and doctrines and has nothing to do with Wicca and many other Pagan religions. Those who did practice such beliefs were usually previous members of those faiths, since a person has to believe in the doctrines and principles of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam in order to believe in Satanism or become a Satanist. The assumption that the righteousness and purity of the beliefs and teachings of each of the monotheistic ideologies, as being the only faith that counted, were projected towards all people who refused to be converted to those beliefs.
Persecution was directed at all other people's beliefs and religions and even among themselves, which resulted, by the 13th century, in over 8,000,000 people (low estimate) being tortured, hung, staked or burned (put to death) as heathens, heretics, and practitioners of magic.
The terms of Witch and Witchcraft, used within context of person, wisdom and use of magic, had evolved from many other similar terms from languages that existed long before many of the earlier religions. The use of what is termed magic, as in the magical qualities of life, was and still is viewed in both positive and negative forms. This can be seen even in the Judeo-Christian spiritualist movements as peoples practicing similar beliefs to those of the Old Religion of the Priests and Priestesses of Wicca through:
Though these principles and beliefs are simple in nature and becoming more accepted between the many peoples and beliefs of the religions of today's societies, they were seen in earlier times as being dark, evil, and the reason to be persecuted or put to death.
Between the 13th and 15th century the Inquisition became gender specific in that over 250,000 people (the majority of whom were women) were accused, persecuted, tortured, and either hung or burned specifically as witches in Medieval Europe. The majority was either transients or owned land and wealth, but had fallen out of favor of the Church. Those members of the 'Craft of the Old Religion' (who 'were' primarily of women), realized they were being hunted down and persecuted with fanatical hatred for their religious teachings and beliefs of Goddess worship and priestesses as clergy. It was during this time the People of the Old Religion' began to be forced into hiding, to become the Hidden People to escape these 'Burning Times' of the Inquisition during the Age of Darkness.
The Age of Darkness passed but church laws remained in effect until the year of 1954 when the Witchcraft Act of England was repealed, demonstrating that society had evolved and 'Church Law' were no longer governing the politics of the time. The various peoples of the Craft reemerged to begin rebuilding their culture and traditions, to become the central crux of teachings by many of the pagan communities that began their own rebuilding in that time. The Wiccan peoples as well as other pagan cultures have been, and are still, researching and rebuilding their cultural heritage and like many other religions have many different Traditions (denominations); examples of these include Gardnerian, Alexandrian, British Traditional, Welsh Traditional, Dianic, Seax-Wicca, and Faerie.
The people, principles, and forms of teachings within the craft are recognized as evolving in having been comprised of the merging of many different tribal cultures, languages, and similar religious beliefs. Though there may be differences, the different traditions of the Craft are respected as long as there are common Principles, Creeds, and Laws that can be acknowledged and accepted. These differences are seen in the acceptance of the pre-history of the earlier pagan civilizations from which the craft originated, in the:
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