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Religions

We will not extend  personal views on Paganism, Celtic, Neo-Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhism, Earth Religions... We simply offer these definitions to help you better understand All Religions and the Path which you seek and follow this day!

  • Neo-Paganism - any of several spiritual movements that attempt to revive the ancient polytheistic religions of Europe and the Middle East. These movements have a close relationship to ritual magic and modern ...

  • The modern English word witchcraft has three principal connotations: the practice of magic or sorcery worldwide; the beliefs associated with the Western witch-hunts of the 14th to the 18th century; and varieties of the modern movement called Wicca, frequently mispronounced “wikka.”

  • The terms witchcraft and witch derive from Old English wiccecraeft: from wicca (masculine) …

  • Contemporary witchcraft - Academics tend to dismiss contemporary witchcraft (known as “ Wicca ”), at the heart of the modern Neo-Pagan movement, as a silly fad or an incompetent technology, but some now understand it as an emotionally consistent but deliberately anti-intellectual set of practices. Adherents to Wicca worship the Goddess, honour nature, practice ceremonial magic, invoke the aid…

  • Celtic -also spelled Kelt , Latin Celta , plural Celtae a member of an early Indo-European people who from the 2nd millennium BC to the 1st century BC spread over much of Europe. Their tribes and groups eventually ranged from the British Isles and northern Spain to as far east as Transylvania, the Black Sea coasts, and Galatia in Anatolia and were in part absorbed into the Roman Empire as Britons, Gauls, Boii, Galatians, and Celtiberians. …

  • Celtic Church - the early Christian church in the British Isles, founded in the 2nd or 3rd century. Highly ascetic in character, it contributed to the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons in the 7th century, but its organization soon gave way to that of Rome. It survived in Wales until the 11th century and in Scotland and Ireland until the 12th.

  • Welsh - The Reformation and the Renaissance, The Counter-Reformation - While the reformed religion was being established in Wales, Welsh society and the Welsh language were at their lowest ebb. The Roman Catholic writers of the Counter-Reformation regarded the new religion as an English import and struggled to preserve old Roman Catholic culture. As a result there appeared Dosparth Byrr (“A Short Rationale”), the earliest printed Welsh…

  • IMHO, a witch is someone who practices witchcraft or is a member of the religious group WICCA, one of the oldest "religions" in the world. It doesn't mean someone who *has* "supernatural powers"...and wiccans are not devil worshippers, in spite of opinions to the contrary.

  • Witchcraft - noun. 1. the art or power of bringing magical or preternatural power to bear or the act or practice of attempting to do so. 2.  the influence of magic or sorcery. 3.  fascinating or bewitching influence or charm.

  • Magician - noun charmer.

  • What is a Witch? - A Witch is an individual who engages in Witchcraft. In turn, Witchcraft is what Witches do. By defining Witch, we automatically have described Witchcraft...and vice versa.

  • Wiccan - a follower of Wicca, a benign, nature-based religion, which includes beliefs, deities, symbols and seasonal days of celebration of the ancient Celts. Gerald Gardiner, an English civil servant, is credited with popularizing Wicca there, in the late 1940s. Wiccans are prohibited from using magic to harm others. Their belief system does not include an all-evil entity. They do not believe in the Christian devil or in  demons. They often refer to themselves as Witches, Pagans and Neopagans. The total number of Wiccans/Witches is difficult to estimate, because so many are isolated, solitary practitioners. They have no real hierarchy and little formal organization. 1 They are generally regarded to be many hundreds of thousands (perhaps a million or more) Witches in the U.S.

  • Biblical witches - evil sorcery and poisoning:  In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament): an evil person who secretly uses spoken curses to intentionally harm others. The Hebrew word for such an individual is m'khashepah or m'khaseph (depending upon gender). Exodus 22:18 is one example. This is sometimes translated as "witch," in some English translations of the Bible -- particularly older versions. "Evil sorceress/sorcerer" would be a less ambiguous term. 1 This type of witch is also similar to ancient Native American usage.  In the Christian Scriptures (New Testament): a criminal who murders people by secretly preparing and administering poisons. See Galatians 5:19-20. The Greek word here is "pharmakia," from which our English word "pharmacy" originated. Probably because of King James' obsessive fear of evil witches, the Greek word was translated as "witchcraft," in the KJV Bible. "Poisoner" or "murderer" would be less ambiguous terms.

  • Non-Christian - Some conservative Christians define a follower of any religion other than Christianity to be a witch. (e.g. a Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, follower of Native American Spirituality, etc.). Their belief is based largely on a Bible passage. 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 states that when Gentiles worship their Gods, they are actually worshiping devils.

  • Ceremonial magician -An individual who can apparently perform miracles during magic rituals. If male, he would be called a wizard.

  • Paganism, in the broadest sense includes all religions other than the true one revealed by God, and, in a narrower sense, all except Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism. The term is also used as the equivalent of Polytheism (q.v.). It is derived from the Latin pagus, whence pagani (i. e. those who live in the country), a name given to the country folk who remained heathen after the cities had become Christian. Various forms of Paganism are described in special articles (e.g. Brahminism, Buddhism, Mithraism); the present article deals only with certain aspects of Paganism in general which will be helpful in studying its details and in judging its value.

  • Definitions of “Pagan” that describe Pagan religions as being earth-centric or nature-centric more closely describe many (but not all) Neo-pagan religions than they describe Pagan religions as a whole. Some Neo-pagan religions include Wicca, other Neo-pagan Witchcraft traditions, forms of Neo-pagan Druidry as ADF, Henge of Keltria, and OBOD [5], and Feri Tradition.

  • Reconstructionist religions attempt to revive or to recreate ancient native religions from particular places and times. Some attempt to recreate the religious practices strictly as they were known to have been. Others try to envision how that religion may have changed over time if it had been in continuous practice. Yet others, probably the majority, combine these two approaches. Some Reconstructionist religions include Hellenic Polytheism, Religio Romana, various Celtic Reconstructionist groups [6] and Asatru.

  • Monotheism - the doctrine or belief that there is but one God.

  • Polytheism - the worship of or belief in more than one God.

  • Monism - the doctrine that mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, the same ultimate substance or principle of being.

  • Dualism - (1) philosophy — the view that the world consists of or is explicable as two fundamental entities, such as mind and matter or (2) theology — the concept that humans have two basic natures, the physical and the spiritual.

  • Monotheism can encompass pantheism (a doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena). Dualistic religions often believe that God and the created world are of different substances (or that spirit and matter are different substances), while monistic religions believe that “the all,” including God(s) and the created world is of one unifying substance.

  • The Call to Worship is an essential part of worship in many religions all over the world. In Judaism the shofar is blown, in Protestant and Caatholic churches the church bells are rung.In Pagan rituals we also begin with some type of Call to Worship, some way to let everyone know that ritual is about to begin. Some traditions sing a song, some read from their Book of Shadows. This is a way to focus everyone's attention on ritual and all that it entails. In doing ritual we are connecting with everyone who has ever done ritual before. Every ritual action connects us with every time that ritual action has been performed.

  • The Encyclopedia Britannica defines witchcraft as -The human exercise of alleged supernatural powers for antisocial, evil purposes (so-called black magic). A female held to have such powers may be called a witch or sorceress, the male counterpart being named wizard, sorcerer, or warlock. Belief in witchcraft survives in modern technologically developed cultures and remains a potent factor in most nonliterate societies.

  • Colliers Encyclopedia states -Witchcraft may be defined for general purposes as the use of supposed supernatural power for antisocial ends. In primitive societies where magic is an accepted part of religious ritual, the witch is the unauthorized, and especially the malevolent, practitioner.

  • Christianity - Definition: [n]  the system of Christian beliefs and practices [n]  the collective body of Christians throughout the world and history; "for a thousand years the Roman Catholic Church was the principal church of Christendom" (n.) The religion of Christians; the system of doctrines and precepts taught by Christ. (n.) Practical conformity of one's inward and outward life to the spirit of the Christian religion. (n.) The body of Christian believers.

  • An Exchange gives the following definition of the word Christian - "A Christ-ian is one who has the Christ spirit. This is our understanding of the original meaning of the word. We suppose all will assent to and accept it as correct . . . . Men are Christ-ians according to the spirit of the Christ which is in them and manifested in the flesh. In some persons it is small, in others large. Either hidden or manifest this spirit resides in all. Consciously or unconsciously it is contained in every man or woman that lives or has lived."

  • Wicca is a neo-pagan religion based on the pre-Christian traditions of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Its origins can be traced even further back to Paleolithic peoples who worshipped a Hunter God and a Fertility Goddess. Cave paintings found in France (and dated at 30,000 years old) depict a man with the head of a stag, and a woman with a swollen, pregnant belly. They stand in a circle with eleven mortals. These archetypes of the divine are worshipped by Wiccans to this very day. By these standards, the religion that is now called Wicca, is perhaps the oldest religion in the world.

  • What is Wicca? Wicca is a forest in the light of the silvery moon...a glade enchanted by the light of the Faery. It is the dewdrop on the petals of a flower in bloom, the warmth of the summer sun on the skin, the fall of colourful autumn leaves, and the softness of winter snow upon the Earth. It is light, and shadow and all that lies in between. It is the song of the wind, and the tune of the tides. It is the symphony of life! To be a Witch is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things living and alive.

  • Types of Witches

    • Alexandrian Wicca Founded in England during the 1960s, Alex Sanders referred to himself as the "King" of his Witches. The rituals are said to be modified Gardenarian.

    • British Wicca A mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. Most famous organization at this time is the International Red Garters. British Traditionals move mostly from within the Farrar studies (the famous Witch husband and wife from England.) They too are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree process. Their covens are also co-ed.

    • Celtic Wicca The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon mixed with a little ritual Gardnerian, and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They had a vast knowledge of and respect for the healing and magickal qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.

    • Caledonii Formally known as the Hecatine Tradition, this denomination of the Craft is Scottish in origin, and still preserves the unique festivals of the Scots.

    • Ceremonial Witchcraft Followers of this Tradition uses a great deal of ceremonial magick in their practices. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magick are sometimes a favorite, or they may use the Qabbalistic magick.

    • Dianic First pinpointed by Margaret Murray in 1921 in "The Witch-Cult in Western Europe," this term appears to include a mixture of various traditions. However, their prime focus in recent years is on the Goddess, and has been pegged as the "feminist" movement of the Craft.

    • Eclectic Wicca Look in any personals column in a Craft-oriented newsletter or journal and you will see this catch-all phrase. Basically, it indicates that the individual does not follow any particular Tradition, demonimation, sect, or magickal practice. They learn and study from many magickal systems and supply to themselves what appears to work best. I happen to be an Eclectic Wiccan.

    • Gardnerian Wicca Organized by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950s. Just why is this fellow so darned important? Gerald was one of the few people so determined that the Old Religion should not die that he took the risk of publicizing it through the media. Under all the hype, I truly believe he understood that the young needed the Craft as much as the Craft needed a new generation to survive.

    • Hereditary Witch One who can trace the Craft through their family tree and who has been taught the Old Religion by a relative who was living at the same time. Channeling doesn't count. How far one has to go back on the family tree to meet the conditions of the first part of this definition is debatable. Family Trades (another name for Hereditary Witches) occasionally adopt individuals into their dynasty. This decision is never a light one, and usually stems from the lack of offspring to carry on the line, or the high regard they hold for the person in question. The ceremony is intricate and important. After all, it is not every day you can pick your relatives! It is much like the marriage of an individual into a family.

    • Kitchen Witch You will hear this term every once in a while. Basically, this type is one who practices by hearth and home, dealing with the practical side of religion, magick, the earth and the elements. There are some who groan loudly at this type of terminology, viewing it as degrading or simply inappropriate. Just remember that the Old Religion started somewhere, and most likely the kitchen (or cookfire) was the hub of many charms, spells, healings, and celebrations. After all, where does everyone congregate during the holidays? Grandma's kitchen has always produced magickal memories for humanity; visions of Mother making that something special for a sick child still holds true today for many of us.

    • Pictish Witchcraft

    • Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature; animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary from of the Craft and mainly magickal in nature with little religion.

    • Pow-Wow Indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania. This is a system, not a religion, based on 400 year old Elite German magick. Pow-Wow has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Although Pow-Wow finds its roots in German Witchcraft, few practicing Pow-Wows today in Pennsylvania follow the Craft or even know the nature of its true birth.

    • Seax-Wicca Founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. Although of Saxon basis, it was authored by Raymond himself without breaking his original Gardnerian oath. Raymond Buckland's contribution to the Craft is a significant one. Not only did he develop a Tradition that is more than acceptable to many individuals, he also has written a large volume of textbooks on different magickal aspects and practices of the Craft, thereby enhancing many lives in a positive direction.

    • Solitary Witch One who practices alone, regardless of Tradition, demonination, or sect. Solitaries come in various forms. Some were at one time initiated into a coven and eventually chose to extricate themselves from that environment and continue practicing a particular Tradition or sect by themselves. A solitary can also be an individual who has no desire to practice with or learn from a coven structure, but still may adhere to a specific Tradition or sect through the teachings of another. And finally, a solitary Witch can be a person who has decided to tough it out on their own, learning from books, networking, and fellow Witches of different Traditions. These people have the ability to pick themselves up and brush themselves off, and live to try again. More and more individuals are selecting the solitary path rather than that of group interaction.

    • Strega Witch Follows a tradition seated in Italy that began around 1353 with a woman called Aradia. Of all the traditional Witches, this group appears to be the smallest in number in the U.S.; however, their teachings are beautiful and should not be missed.

    • Teutonic Witch From ancient time the Teutons have been recognized as a group of people who speak the Germanic group of languages. Culturally, this included the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish peoples. This is also known as the Nordic Tradition.

    • Faerie (Feri) A denomination founded by Victor Anderson, a blind American poet who had studied Craft with a pre-Gardnerian coven in the Seattle area prior to the Second World War. Many of its underlying perspectives found its way into the book The Spiral Dance, whose author Starhawk (aka Miriam Simos) is a former student of Anderson's.

    • Y Tylwyth Teg A tradition founded in 1967 by American veteran William B. Wheeler III (aka Rhuddlwm Gawr) (b. 1940). Wheeler's writings feature a fusion of Welsh folklore, Hebrew Kabbalah, duotheism, NeoGardnerianism, and some unusual claims involving the Atlantis legend. Groups work robed or skyclad. The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg maintains a farm community in Athens, Georgia called Camelot of the Woods, and serves as headquarters for the Universal Federation of Pagans. The church was incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in 1977.

    • Georgian Founded by George Patterson in 1970 and chartered as The Georgian Church in 1980. Georgian Wicca is aduotheistic tradition featuring an eclectic revivalist approach to Gardnerianism and Alexandrianism with emphasis on freedom. Groups tend to function skyclad, and are mutally religious and magical.

    • American Welsh A denomination featuring extensive use of Welsh folklore and mythology and following a loose Neo-Gardnerian outline. Groups tend to be democratic, and work either robed or (rarely) skyclad. Largely developed by occultists Ed Buczynski (d. 1989) and Kate Smith, with influence by spokesman and occult shop proprietor Herman Slater (1935 - 1992).

  • Definition: \Bud"dhism\, n.The religion based upon the doctrine originally taught by theHindoo sage Gautama Siddartha, surnamed Buddha, ``theawakened or enlightened,'' in the sixth century b. c., andadopted as a religion by the greater part of the inhabitantsof Central and Eastern Asia and the Indian Islands. Buddha'steaching is believed to have been atheistic; yet it wascharacterized by elevated humanity and morality. It presentsrelease from existence (a beatific enfranchisement,Nirv[^a]na) as the greatest good. Buddhists believe in transmigration of souls through all phases and forms of life. Their number was estimated in 1881 at 470,000,000.

  • Definition: [n]  Jews who practice a religion based on the Old Testament and the Talmud. \Tal"mud\, n. [Chald. talm[=u]d instruction, doctrine,fr. lamad to learn, limmad to teach.]The body of the Jewish civil and canonical law not comprised in the Pentateuch. Note: The Talmud consists of two parts, the Mishna, or text, and the Gemara, or commentary. Sometimes, however, the name Talmud is restricted, especially by Jewish      writers, to the Gemara. There are two Talmuds, the Palestinian, commonly, but incorrectly, called the Talmud of Jerusalem, and the Babylonian Talmud. They contain the same Mishna, but different Gemaras. The  Babylonian Talmud is about three times as large as the other, and is more highly esteemed by the Jews.

  • Hinduism, Hinduism a complex of beliefs and values and customs including worship of many gods especially the Trimurti composed of Brahma the Creator; Vishnu the preserver; and Shiva the destroyer [n]  the dominant religion of India; characterized by a caste system and belief in reincarnation

  • \Is"lam\, n. [Ar. isl[=a]m obedience to the will of God, submission, humbling one's self, resigning one's self to the divine disposal. Cf. {Moslem}.]1. The religion of the Mohammedans; Mohammedanism; Islamism.  Their formula of faith is: There is no God but Allah, and   Mohammed is his prophet.2. The whole body of Mohammedans, or the countries which they occupy.

  • \Shin"to\, Shintiism \Shin"ti*ism\, n. [Chin. shin god +tao way, doctrine.]One of the two great systems of religious belief in Japan.Its essence is ancestor worship, and sacrifice to dead heroes. [Written also {Sintu}, and {Sintuism}.]

  • Definition:  [n]  philosophical system developed by of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu advocating a simple honest life and noninterference with the course of natural events [n]  popular Chinese philosophical system based in teachings of Lao-tzu but characterized by a pantheism of many gods and the practices of alchemy and divination and magic [n]  religion adhering to the teaching of Lao-tzu [n]  Chinese Taoist sect claiming to follow the teaching of Lao-tzu but also incorporating pantheism and sorcery.

  • \Ta"o*ism\, n.One of the popular religions of China, sanctioned by thestate. -- {Ta"o*ist}, a. & n.

  • \Sha"man*ism\, n.The type of religion which once prevailed among all the Ural-Altaic peoples (Tungusic, Mongol, and Turkish), andwhich still survives in various parts of Northern Asia. The Shaman, or wizard priest, deals with good as well as with evil spirits, especially the good spirits of ancestors.--Encyc. Brit.

  • WHAT IS THE FAERIE FAITH? The Faerie faith is the set of folk beliefs and folk religion practices that entered the celtic culture when Christianity became the official religion. The Faerie Faith has no priests, ministers, Druids, or licensed professionals of any kind, nor does it have established churches or complicated theology. Its scripture is folk memory. For its professionals, there are "wise women" and "faerie doctors"; individuals who have experienced the faeries and carry the knowledge and skills nessisary to see them, identify their handiwork, and occasionally cure any ills caused by them. Biddy Early was a famous Wise Woman from Ireland. The Faerie Faith includes a number of superstitions and taboos designed to prevent insulting or angering the faeries. When the Faerie Faith was most widespread, it was common to seek out a wise woman or faerie doctor to cure a disease in cattle or humans when the medical doctors or priests were unable to do so.

  • WHAT IS CELTIC CHRISTIANITY?  After Saint Patrick and Saint Columcille completed their missions to Ireland and Scotland, those nations evolved an unique and beautiful blend of Christianity and Druidism, headquartered on the Isle of Iona in Scotland and Armagh in Ireland, both of which were later to be eradicated by the English. Catholicism eventually became an important element of national identity in Ireland, and without it they may never have become independent.

 

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