Witchcraft, among other things, is essentially a lunar cult in which the Women's Mysteries of Old Europe reside. The experience of Witchcraft which is entwined with the Goddess path, is of a healing and magickal path. It is very clear to those who practice it. The power raised in a Witch's Circle can be felt by those who are consciously receptive to it.
Because the Goddess is seen as a Moon Goddess and because the moon is essential in all magickal workings, many Witches who live and feel the Moon each and every day, who are Pagans as well, see Witchcraft as something spiritual. The Goddess Path and Witchcraft are therefore entwined together. Women of yesteryear turned to the Moon Goddess and laid underneath the Full Moon in the hopes of getting pregnant. This is magickal workings. This is Witchcraft. At one time wife and husband would have sex in the fields underneath the Full Moon for a prosperous crop. This is Witchcraft.
All who stay on the of Witchcraft must be assumed sincere, otherwise they would have chosen a more fulfilling one. Being an active and practicing witch takes time and effort. There really is no such thing as a Sunday Witch. You must work to increase your potential powers and you must take time to learn. Learning all there is to know about Witchcraft takes time as well as experience. One must study and be fully connected with the Moon in all Her phases. They need to learn about oils, incense, herbs, crystals and gems, different forms of divination, different types of practicing magick
Witchcraft provides growth and that is the key in any pursuit, to grow within yourself and to know your own potential...to know your own power of being a Witch..
In ancient times, the light of the Moon itself was the power of the Moon. There was nothing symbolic about it - it was the actual substance of magick. This is why we find torches on the hands of Hecate that She is displaying the power She yields in Her hands. From this concept arose the ritual practice of employing candles, torches, and bonfires in lunar ceremonies. This was designed to encourage the light of the Moon as seen in the ancient rite of carrying torches around in a newly planted field at night.
In ancient Greece, the torches of Hecate were placed in a circle around freshly sown fields to aid in the germination of the grain. Witches employ an invocation during the time of the full moon, requesting that the light of the moon impart occult knowledge to them in their dreams. In Greece, the festival day of Hecate (August 13) multitude of torches were lighted to honor the Moon Goddess and to secure Her favor not to send storms that might harm the coming harvest.
The Goddess and Her Moon plays an important role in everyone's lives depending on Her phase and what sign She is moving through. Women feel the Moon's energies more because they have more water in their bodies than men. Women's "moon" cycle runs alongside the cycle of the Moon. Women ebb and flow just as the Moon. I have read that there are some Moon Gods. This only happened when the warring Gods came in and took power away from the Goddess and gave it to the Gods. They had Zeus giving birth to Athena. They had Thoth birthing himself as well as making him a Moon God. It has even gone so far as "the Man on the Moon!" They did everything in their power to take from the Goddess and give it to the God and this went on and on until eventual Christianity came along when the Moon Goddess as well as the Goddess Religion went on a wane and disappeared to the Underworld.
Ritual is the movement of a Witch's belief. Chanting, drumming, lighting candles, burning incense, and casting circles are all rituals. Rituals allow us to pass to another time and follow the movement of Goddess-Blood in us. We hear the music in the background and we fly on the sound waves to another time and another place. We feel what those who-have-gone-before experienced. The physical world around us disappears and we are hurtled through time and space to magical realms - to times when the mysteries were revered as a path of knowledge and wisdom. There are many Moon Goddesses who are Mother Earth as well such as Demeter. The great pulse of life is the Goddess. Beneath us and around us is the Great Mother as she was then - alive with growth, clean and powerful. She vibrates with life. They rejoiced in the bond between the Mother and themselves. They saw the changing seasons and celebrated them. They paid attention to the world around them.....the leaf that turned red, the ground that became cold and unyielding - all these signs were observed and honored as a part of life and its cycle.
Many things can be added to a home to create within it the atmosphere of harmony, joy and magick. Through scent and candles, pictures that are pleasing, and areas that are comfortable and not busy, one can achieve a place where there is freedom to go within. That is where it all happens. We must seek our answers from within ourselves, for if we seek them from without, we will find nothing. The Goddess does not give us the answers but facilitates our awareness. She allows us signs and clues that we must use to work the answers through to their deeper meanings. Many think that She does not answer their prayers not realizing that they may be ignoring what She is saying.
In Witchcraft, the ritual and symbolism is only as important as the practitioner finds necessary. Some Witches find gardening more fulfilling than ritual, while others would rather dance or chant as a way to connect to the Moon Goddess. Ritual, symbolism and myth are each a way of bringing the deeper psychic and psychological visions to the surfaces.
The casting of spells is a great part of the Witch's work. Witches tend to believe that the words of a spell can lose their effectiveness with the telling. Each time they are told at an inappropriate moment, their power weakens. This is why Witches are counseled to be cautious. The four responsibilities attached to any magical act are - to know, to will, to dare and to keep silent. There are a few variations to these in most paths dealing with magick.
Spell casting is probably the most "mysterious" activity that Witches engage in. And, spells do exist, and they do work. It is as simple as that. There are literally thousands and thousands of Witches worldwide who know this. However, there are many pagans practicing the Wiccan tradition claiming no part in magick, feeling that Wicca is purely a religious concept with no room for magick. Some consider Wiccans who do not practice magick may be Wiccans and/or pagans but they are not Witches as that is what Witches do...practice magick and is much a part of a Witch as anything else.
Candle spells are common among Craftswomen and Craftsmen. The candle spells have the advantage of making use of the fire and air elements, both of which are carries of your wishes. Naturally, when practicing any type of magick, Witches pay attention to what phase the Moon is in for their magick to be successful.
If you flew in from another direction, do not forget to visit my Home Page to see other magickal material such as Drawing Down the Dark Moon, Dark Moon ritual, Full Moon ritual as well as Women and Dark Moon Magick.