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    A Year and a Day

    Coming out of the Broom Closet   One of the major discussions among Pagan groups is whether or not to be in ‘the broom closet’.  This is reference to a person being open about their Pagan beliefs to others, including their friends, family, co-workers, or the general public.  It’s a touchy subject, which many Pagans have strong opinions about.   Coming out of the broom closet can lead to broken relationships if the person receiving the news feels strongly against your Pagan beliefs.  Some Pagans refuse to be open about their religious beliefs for fear of persecution or judgement by their friends or co-workers.  Some Pagans feel that this persecution…

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    A Year And A Day

    Pagan in the City   Many pagans live in bustling cities and manicured suburbs, far away from the untamed nature of rural communities.  This is either by choice or because of other constraints, such as their job or family.  But just because one doesn’t live in a dense forest surrounded by native plants and wild animals, or live on a homestead that grows and raises its own food, it doesn’t mean that one cannot be pagan.  The city holds a variety of opportunities to tune into the natural world around us, as long as we take the time to seek them out and listen.  Some ideas to connect with nature…

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    A Year And A Day

    Paganism   Definitions of paganism are difficult because most Pagans do not operate within a centralised religious body or follow a standard set of rules.  However there are similarities between the various Pagan and Neopagan traditions, including reverence for the Earth and nature.  Many Neopagans share common beliefs with indigenous traditions including pantheism, polytheism, and animism.   Below are examples of some of the largest groups within the Pagan and Neopagan movement.  However given Paganism’s eclectic nature, these are purely generalizations and there are many variations and interpretations!   Wicca Wicca is the largest of the Neopagan religious groups, thought to be started in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner in…

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    A Day and a Year

    Daily Wicca   While a witch’s life might be full of Sabbats and Esbats, one might have trouble finding the magic in everyday life.  However there are some things you can do daily to assist your spiritual growth and connection to Wicca.  A few minutes a day can help build upon existing knowledge and create a deeper connection to your Wiccan practice.   Mirror Book Scott Cunningham suggests keeping a Mirror Book to record your progress in Wicca.  Different to a Book of Shadows, a Mirror Book is like a diary and can include thoughts, feelings, your magical successes and failures, your doubts, fears, significant dreams and anything else part…

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    A Year and a Day

    Witches in Media   Witches are popular characters in books, movies and TV shows.  They have been portrayed in a variety of ways, from the wicked cackling old hag, to the young and sassy neophyte first discovering her powers.  A boom in witch-themed TV and movies in the 90s, such as The Craft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spawned the term ‘Generation Hex’, describing the new generation of youth exposed to esoteric and occult-themed media.  This continued with the Harry Potter series, which became immensely popular and had a huge cultural impact.   The fact that most of the ‘witches’ portrayed in media have very little in common with real-life…

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    A Year and a Day

    Famous Witches, Wiccans and Pagans   Gerald Gardner was one of the first to take witchcraft ‘out of the broom closet’.  Since then, many witches have followed in his footsteps by publishing books and discussing publicly the beliefs, rituals and practices of Wicca.  These famous witches and pagans helped to bring Wicca out of obscurity, and allowed mainstream culture to gain insight into this secretive and selective group.   Gerald Gardner Gerald Gardner is known as the ‘father of modern Wicca’.  A British public servant, he spent much of his time abroad and was influenced by a variety of cultures and esoteric teachings.  He claimed to have been initiated into…

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    A Year and A Day

    Pantheons   Many Wiccans are polytheistic, meaning they worship in many gods and goddesses as part of their belief system.   A ‘pantheon’ is a set of gods and goddesses from a particular religion or mythology.  Popular pantheons include Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Japanese, and Native American.   Sometimes there is overlap between deities from different pantheons.  For example, Greek and Roman deities often overlap, however are given different names.  Celtic deities often overlap with Gaulish and Brittanic deities.   Some Wiccan groups insist that you work within a singular pantheon, however some groups find that working with deities from different pantheons is acceptable.  Most Wiccans agree that…

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    A Year And A Day

    Wiccan Basics   There are very few ‘rules’ in Wicca.  In fact, a lot of people like the fact that there is no rulebook, dogma or strict hierarchy in Wicca.  Of course, this varies between traditions, as some groups have more guidelines then others.   Rulebook or not, there are a few key tenets that most Wiccans follow, such as the Wiccan Rede, the Rule of Three, and even the Thirteen Principles of Wiccan Belief as set out by the American Council of Witches in 1974.   Wiccan Rede The Wiccan Rede provides a common moral system for those practicing Wicca and other pagan religions.  Doreen Valiente first published the…

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    A Year And A Day

      Wicca 101 Books I believe it was Scott Cunningham that encouraged new witches to read everything they can get their hands on when first exploring the Craft. I agree with this wholeheartedly! There is a multitude of ‘Wicca 101’ books on the market, and it can seem daunting to sift through them and choose which ones to read. Every Wiccan author has their own style and point of view, so it’s a good exercise to read a variety of books in order to discover what works for you. Keep in mind that not everybody agrees with what makes a good book! Below is a list of some Wiccan and…

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    A Year And A Day

    “What is Wicca?”   This is the first of a monthly column which is aimed at seekers, those new to paganism, Wicca, and the occult.  The ‘year and a day’ reference comes from the fact that most Wiccan groups require seekers to study the craft for a year and a day before they can be formally dedicated or initiated into the group.  It is also said the Celtic goddess Cerridwen stirred her cauldron of knowledge for the same amount of time.   One of the most basic questions new seekers have is what is Wicca?   Most sources agree that Wicca is an earth and nature-based spirituality that celebrates the…