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Different Paths in Witchcraft

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Different Paths in Witchcraft

Postby greenvixen » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:55 pm

Different types of Witchcraft

Alexandrian
Founded in England during the 1960's by Alexander Sanders, self-proclaimed "King of the Witches". An offshoot of Gardnerian, Alexandrian covens focus strongly upon training, emphasizing on areas more generally associated with ceremonial magic, such as Qabalah, Angelic Magic and Enochian. The typical Alexandrian coven has a hierarchical structure, and generally meets on weekly, or at least on Full Moons, New Moons and Sabbats. Rituals are usually done skyclad.
Most Alexandrian covens will allow non-inititiates to attend circles, usually as a "neophyte," who undergoes basic training in circle craft prior to being accepted for the 1st degree initiation. Alexandrian Wicca uses essentially the same tools and rituals as Gardnerian Wicca, though in some cases, the tools are used differently, and the rituals have been adapted. Another frequent change is to be found in the names of deities and guardians of the Quarters. In some ways these differences are merely cosmetic, but in others, there are fundamental differences in philosophy. Over the last 30 years, the two traditions have moved slowly towards each other, and the differences which marked lines of demarcation are slowly fading away.
Celtic
The Celtic path is really many traditions under the general heading of "Celtic." It encompasses Druidism, Celtic Shamanism, Celtic Wicca or Witta, the Grail Religion, and Celtic Christianity or Culdees. Each path is unique and stand alone meld together with another and still be part of the Celtic tradition. It is primarily derived from the ancient pre Christian Celtic religion of Gaul and the British Isles.
As it is practiced today, most of the Celtic paths are part of the Neo-Pagan revival, focusing on Nature and healing with group and individual rituals that honor the Ancient Shining Ones and the Earth. Most are very eclectic, and hold to the Celtic myths, divinities, magic and rituals. Celtic paths are some of the more popular traditions.
Ceremonial
Uses a great deal of Ceremonial Magick in practices. Mostly derived from the works of Aleister Crowley. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magick are popular, as Qabalistic ritual forms.
Dianic
This is the most feminist Craft Tradition. Most Dianic covens worship the Goddess exclusively (Diana and Artemis are the most common manifestations) and most today are women only. Rituals are eclectic; some are derived from Gardnerian and Faery traditions, while others have been created anew. Emphasis is on rediscovering and reclaiming female power and divinity, consciousnes-raising, and combining politics with spirituality. The Dianic Craft included two distinct branches:
The first Dianic coven in the U.S. was formed in the late '60s by Margan McFarland and Mark Roberts, in Dallas, Texas. This branch gives primacy to the Goddess in its theology, but honors the Horned God as Her beloved Consort. Covens include both women and men. This branch is sometimes called 'Old Dianic,' and there are still covens of this tradition specially in Texas. Other coven, similar in theology but not directly descended from the McFarland/Roberts line are sprinkled around the country.
The other branch, Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, focuses exclusively on the Goddess and consists of women-only covens, often with a strong lesbian presence. These tend to be loosely structured and non-hierarchial, using consensus decision making and simple, creative, experimental ritual. They are politically femisnist groups, usually very supportive, personal and emotionally intimate. The major network is Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess. Z Budapest founded the Susan B. Anthony Coven in 1971, declaring Dianic Witchcraft to be "Wimmin's Religion". The Wommin's Spirituality Forum was Founded by Z Budapest in 1986, and is dedicated to bringing Goddess consciousness to the mainstream of feminist consciousness through lectures and, retreats, classes, cable TV shows, and rituals in the effort to achieve spiritual and social liberation.
Eclectic
Refers to groups and individuals who do not fully adhere to one specific form of Paganism. They choose to incorperate some beliefs, practices, rituals etc, of a few, or many paths to form a unique one that suits their spiritual needs.
Faery/Faerie/Fairy/Feri
First paragraph graciously provided by Kelesyn Greenleaf
Victor and Cora Anderson are the original teachers of the Feri Tradition. Victor is universally recognized as the Grand Master of his order of Feri. He was initiated in 1926 by a priestess from Africa. He is also one of the last genuine Kahuna. His book of poetry, _Thorns of the Bloodrose_, isconsidered a contemporary Pagan classic. In 1959, Victor initiated the late Gwydion Pendderwen (age 13 at the time), who later became a leading voice in the Feri Tradition. Gwydion concentrated on the Welsh Celtic aspects; whereas Victor and Cora still practice the tradition as it was originally, with Huna and African diasporic influences, primarily Dahomean-Haitian. The Feri Tradition honors the Goddess and Her son, brother and lover (The Divine Twins) as the primary creative forces in the universe. The Gods are seen as real spirit beings like ourselves, not merely aspects of our psyche.

It is an ecstatic, rather than fertility tradition, emphasizing on polytheism, practical magic, self-development and theurgy. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness,including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. This is a mystery traditionof power, mystery, danger, ecstasy, and direct communication with divinity. Most initiates are inthe arts and incorporate their own poetry, music and invocations into rituals. The Tradition isgender-equal, and all sexual orientations seem able to find a niche. According to Francesca De Grandis, founder of the 3rd Road branch: "Faerie power is not about a liturgy but about one's body: a Fey shaman's blood and bones are made of stars and Faerie dust. A legitimate branch of Faerie is about a personal vision that is the Fey Folks' gift to a shaman." Initially small and secretive, many of the fundamentals of the Tradition have reached a large audience trough the writings of Starhawk, the most famous initiate. Some secret branches remain. While only a few hundred initiates can trace their lineage directly to Victor Anderson, many thousands are estimated to practice neo-Faery Traditions.
Gardnerian
This is a closed initiatory Tradition which was founded in England ca 1953 by Gerald Gardner and further developed by Doreen Valiente and others. Gardner was initiated into a coven of Witches in the New Forest region of England in 1939 by a High Priestess named 'Old Dorothy' Clutterbuck. In 1949 he wrote High Magic's Aid, a novel about medieval Witchcraft in which quite a bit of the Craft as practiced by the coven was used. In 1951 the last of the English laws against Witchcraft were repealed (primarily due to to the pressure of Spiritualists) and Gardner published Witchcraft Today, which set forth a version of rituals and traditions of that coven.
Gardner gave his Tradition a ritual framework strongly influenced by Freemasonry and Crowleyan ceremonial magic, as well as traditional folk magic and Tantric Hinduism. The Tradition was brought to the USA in 1965 by Raymond & Rosemary Buckland, who were initiated in 1964 by the Gardner's High Priestess, Lady Olwen.
Gardnerian covens are always headed by a High Priestess and have three degrees of initiation closely paralleling the Masonic degrees. Worship is centered on the Goddess and the Horned God. The tradition emphasizes polarity in all things, fertility, and the cycle of birth-death-rebirth. Eight seasonal Sabbats are observed, and the Wiccan Rede is the guiding principle. Power is raised through scourging and sex magick ("The Great Rite"), as well as meditation, chanting, astral projection, dancing, wine and cords. Designed for group/coven work, through solitary workings have been created. Covens work skyclad.
Minonian Brotherhood
A Gay Men's tradition of Witchcraft established in New York by the late Lord Gwydion (Eddie Buczynski) in the mid - 1970's, at the same time as the Minoan Sisterhood was being established by Lady Miw, also in New York. The Brotherhood remains exclusively a venue for Gay men to explore a traditional ritual Witchcraft, one which can foster a similar, though Gay, sexual mysticism and sense of personal empowerment as in some British traditions of Wicca. As the founder was a Gardnerian initiate, the rituals are roughly Gardnerian, with changes to accommodate a different core mythology and ritual custom.. Imagery and deities are those of Ancient Crete and Mycenae. Working tools and their uses are virtually identical to those of British traditional Wicca.

Shamanic Witchcraft
This term refers to practices associated with those of tribal shamans in traditional Pagan cultures throughout the world. A shaman combines the roles of healer, priest (ess), diviner, magician, teacher and spirit guide, utilizing altered states of consciousness to produce and control psychic phenomena and travel to and from the spirit realm. Followers of this path believe that historical Witchcraft was the shamanic practice of European Pagans; and Medieval Witches actually functioned more as village shamans than as priests and priestesses of :the Old Religion." Shamanic Witchcraft emphasizes serving the wider community through rituals, herbalism, spellcraft, healings, counseling, rites of passage, handfastings, Mystery initiations, etc. The distinguishing element of Shamanic Witchcraft is the knowledge and sacramental use of psychotropic plants to effect transitions between worlds. The theory and practice of Shamanic Witchcraft has permeated widely though out many other established Traditions.
Stregheria
Graciously submitted by Maggie..aka..Feast of the Magi
Stregheria is the form of witchcraft native to Italy; there are several distinct traditions sharing common roots, in various parts of Italy. Also called, La Vecchia Religione, Stregheria is a nature-based religion, it's followers worship the forces of Nature, personified as gods and goddesses. The witches of La Vecchia Religione are called Streghe (plural), with the title Strega (for a female), Stregone (for a male).
Stregheria is rooted in the folk religion of the Latins (the Romans being one Latin people) and the Etruscans. In the particular tradition, taught by Raven Grimassi in Ways of the Strega, the pantheon is different from the urban gods of the Romans, though some of those deities were shared with the Latins, and the Etruscans, most notably Diana, whose worship was focused at a temple at Lake Nemi in the Alban Hills. There are however other traditions of Stregheria in Italy, who may worship the urban gods of the Romans.
The particular tradition taught by Raven Grimassi in Ways of the Strega, is derived from a renewal that occurred in the 14th century brought about by a wise woman from Tuscany called Aradia. This does not imply that witchcraft in Italy began in the 14th century. La Vecchia Religione is an
evolution of pre-christian religions in Italy. The tradition taught by Aradia was a revival of the Old Ways during a time of extreme persecution of the peasants of Italy.

Wiccan Shamanism
Founded by Selena Fox in the 1980's. Ecumenical and multicultural focus. Combination of Wicca, humanistic psychology and a variety of shamanistic practices from around the world. Emphasis on healing. Uses traditional shamanistic techniques to change consciousness, such as drumming and ecstatic dancing.
"All good that a person does to another returns three-fold in this life; harm is also returned three-fold."
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