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Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices

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Richard Ballard

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Apr 14, 2003, 11:00:14 AM4/14/03
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Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.

The evening of April 30th [midnight May 1st Stonehenge time]
brings the sabbat Beltane (pronounced Beel-teen or Bell-tayn),
a celebration of fertility and life above all else. Beltane
marks summer's beginning and is a time to celebrate the
eternal wheel of reincarnation and the return of the Wiccan
God. Beltane falls opposite Samhain [midnight October 31st
Stonehenge time, winter's beginning] on the Wheel of the Year.
Beltane (the final phase of planting) and Samhain (the third
and final harvest) are the two most important sabbats.

Many Pagans believe that the name Beltane derives from the
English word 'balefire' meaning 'boon' or 'extra'. European
monarchs marked the Beltane sabbat's beginning by lighting
balefires, typically on high hills -- having sex with ladies
from the families of lesser nobility was included within the
balefire ritual. Lesser nobility then could light their own
balefires on lower hills (and themselves have sex with ladies
from the families of lesser nobility or commoners), and could
begin their own Beltane celebrations. The ritual sex included
within the balefire celebrations equates to the Aristocracy's
(e.g., the King's, Baron's, or local landowner's) 'first night'
privileges -- the Aristocracy's right to control who could
marry whom and the Aristocracy's right to bed any young lady
first on her wedding night. The balefire ritual replenished
the Aristocracy's energy and symbolically blessed the young
lady bedded by the Aristocrat. The balefire ritual also
maintained the continuity of the Aristocracy -- 'the pecking
order' is a time-honored tradition.

During Beltane, Pagan commoners celebrated having survived Winter's
hardship and renewed their sense of community under their monarch
and nobility. The balefires symbolized the warmth and vigor of
the life-giving Sun and a commitment to maintain the Pagan family.
The balefire ritual also focused the Aristocracy's power within
the minds of their subjects: 'We control the farm land and winter
will return -- wanna eat?' Monarchs and nobility provided much
food and drink to be served during Beltane celebrations -- a treat
and a relief after Winter's sparse, drab fare.

Dancing around the May Pole is another Beltane tradition. In Pagan
times the May Pole was constructed by removing all but the topmost
branches from a communal pine tree. White and red ribbons that
represented the Pagan Goddess and God, respectively, were attached
to the tree beneath the remaining pine branches. Woman holding the
white ribbons and men holding the red ribbons danced around the
May Pole, interweaving the white and red ribbons around the
May Pole. The May Pole represented a phallus, the untrimmed topmost
pine branches represented pubic hair, and the interwoven ribbons
represented the female birth canal surrounding the phallus.

With this sabbat approaching many Wiccans are discussing Wicca
more openly, and many of their friends are hearing about Wicca
for the first time. These friends might ask 'How can I learn
about Wicca?'

I wish to offer some basic definitions. But before offering
these definitions I believe it is fair to state that I am _not_
a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.

Some basic definitions:

A) I believe that *Magick* is the goal-oriented use of Chaos,
a different term than 'magic' which refers to 'stage magic'
(prestidigitation).

Magick is strongly based in human sexuality. Human sexuality
can be a magickal goal, but need not be. More often human
sexuality is one magickal means used to achieve a goal. Human
fertility magick and agricultural fertility magick are religion
for Wiccans, and some Wiccans might state that fertility (not
human sexuality) is the important part of Wicca. I believe that
many Magickians would smile and reply 'There is more than one
way to worship the Goddess.'

Magick sometimes is described as being dark or light magick.
Dark magick (sometimes called left-handed magick) tends to be
obscuring, domineering and obstructing _chaotic_ magick used
with little regard for ethics or morality. [Imagine the most
misleading pre-election political advertisements possible --
a perfect example of chaotic dark magick.] Dark magick often
is associated with satanism and has gained popularity in the
past several years. Light magick (sometimes called right-handed
magick) tends to be illuminating, clarifying, non-interfering
and empowering _benign_ magick used beneficently.

B) *Chaos* is a generic term -- it can describe global warfare
or a squealing infant. I believe that Magickians are
individuals who utilize (and sometimes purposefully create)
Chaos in order to realize their own goals.

C) Historically (and ironically) the word *craftsman* (and its
modern variant *craftsperson*) has referred to a perfectionist
whose work is beyond reproach -- Chaos-free. Yet those who
practice Magick often are said to practice 'The Craft'.

D) According to Scott Cunningham's well-regarded text "Wicca:
A Guide For The Solitary Practioner" (pg. 63), the eight *Sabbats*
are days of power. Four Sabbats coincide with Solstices and
Equinoxes (the beginnings of the four seasons), and the other four
Sabbats are based upon ancient folk festivals, including those of
the ancient Near East.

Within her text "Inside A Witches' Coven" Ms. Edain McCoy states
(pg. 140) that the origin of the word Sabbat is the Greek word
'sabatu' meaning 'to rest'.

I believe that the word Sabbat also shares linguistic roots with
the Hebrew words Saba (e.g., Sheba, an ancient kingdom of southern
Arabia), Sabaism (the worship of stars and the heavens), Shebat
(the fifth month of the Jewish calendar that roughly coincides
with Imbolg), and 'shabbath' [to rest; (i.e., Sabbath, a period
of rest)].

Some Covens perform _no magic_ during Sabbats, treating Sabbats
as occasions for rest and rejoicing. Other Covens view Sabbats
as a time for powerful magick (often fertility magick). Whether
magick is performed during a Sabbat celebration depends upon a
Coven's Tradition.

E) The Wiccan *Rede* is the best-known Wiccan tenet. Depending
upon the Tradition one follows, the Rede might be a binding rule,
the Rede might be considered advice, or the Rede might be ignored.

The most common statement of the Wiccan Rede is 'An ye harm
none, do what ye will'. I have observed several different
(Wiccan Tradition-dependent) interpretations of this eight-word
statement -- the words 'harm', 'none', 'do' and 'will' are
subject to interpretation. An obvious example: Does 'harm
none' refer to members of the given Wiccan Coven, to members
of the given Wiccan Tradition, to all Wiccans, or to
humankind? Furthermore, I have observed statements of the
Wiccan Rede that go on for pages like a legal contract, and
I have observed Wiccan Traditions that effectively ignore the
Wiccan Rede completely. I am _not_ comfortable with all
Traditions' interpretation of the Wiccan Rede.

There are many valid Wiccan paths -- Gardnerian Wicca was the
first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.
The Wiccan Gardnerian Tradition reflects English socioeconomic
culture 50 years ago. Gardnerian Wicca was initiated by
upper-income British who were able to hire low/middle-income
servants as 'apprentices'. I believe that many prospective Wiccan
novices would find the traditional 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship
_not_ acceptable if that apprenticeship took the form of _mandatory
and unbreakable servitude_. (I am discussing an apprentice's loss
of the ability to _drop out_ of an apprenticeship program by
terminating the associated service period voluntarily and early.
***I am discussing loss of freedom of choice***. A Lot can happen
during a 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship.) Of course, different
Wiccan Covens might interpret Gardnerian Tradition differently, but
I believe the right of Wiccan Covens, Coven members, and Wiccan
solitary worshippers to modify their Traditions is _mandatory_.

I believe that _most_ States' common laws forbid mandatory and
unbreakable servitude, and forbid harm during an apprenticeship.
Yet I believe I know at least one state that _does_ allow
'Bills of Attainder' -- the equivalent of a mandatory and
unbreakable servitude. I believe the legal age to sign a
contract in that state is _age fourteen_. The contract can
be written to include monetary penalties or clauses that extend
the contract without pay for poor service -- potentially
never-ending servitude. ***Most fourteen-year-olds can NOT
read 'legalese'.*** Imagine the following conversation:
'Don't think of it as a legal contract -- think of it as your
own customized version of the Wiccan Rede, the first oathbound
entry in your _Book Of Shadows_.' I believe that 'Bills of
Attainder' are _not legally enforcable_ outside of two states
within the United States, but a potential legal mess (and other
hatefulness) is possible. And poor apprentices might _not_ have
the resources to obtain necessary legal help.

A similar difficult (and universally applicable) situation exists
when Wiccan parents (or legal guardian/s) force their underage
children (or wards) to become Wiccan Coven members. Most
Traditions require prospective Wiccan novices under 18 years of
age to provide a written statement of parental permission before
beginning Wiccan study. That is _much_ different than rejecting
prospective Wiccan novices under the age of 18, particularly if
the novices' parents (or legal guardian/s) are Wiccan Coven
members. A particularly unfortunate situation results if the
Wiccan Coven's Tradition includes a penalty if (upon reaching
adulthood) the underaged children decide to leave the Wiccan Coven.
Oaths can (but need not) be written to include penalties for
'walking away' from a Coven.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid
situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend that
prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the buyer
beware. The best way to avoid messes (and other hatefulness)
is not to step in them in the first place.

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal opinions.

I believe that the Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition is outdated in
21st Century United States society. Gardnerian Wicca has been
augmented by a number of other Traditions (including Cunningham
and Buckland) that do _not_ require initiation by a lineaged Coven
and/or High Priest/ess. These liberal Wiccan Traditions place
fewer restrictions upon Coven members and solitary worshippers. I
also believe that traditional Wiccan Covens (with their requirement
to complete a 'year-and-a-day' service apprenticeship _prior_ to
Wiccan initiation) are experiencing recruiting problems --
particularly if apprenticeship duties are _not_ pleasant.

I find it fascinating that everybody assumes that Starhawk is
a Wiccan despite the fact that _nowhere_ in the Twentieth
Anniversary Edition of "The Spiral Dance: ..." (original text
plus two appendices giving Tenth Anniversary comments
and Twentieth Anniversary comments, respectively) does
Starhawk state that she is a Wiccan. Starhawk states (pp. 6,16)
that her Reclaiming Tradition has roots in Victor and Cora
Anderson's Faerie Tradition.

I find it fascinating that lineaged Wiccans question the
validity of Wiccan Traditions other than the Gardnerian
Tradition and the Alexanderian Tradition, but nobody bats
an eyelash when somebody equates Dianic witchcraft (a
tradition in which the God and men _at best_ play a weak
supporting role) with Wicca.

I believe prospective Wiccan novices find Gardnerian Wicca
not relevant to their 21st Century 'popular culture' -- 'Oh,
that's my mother's Oldsmobile' (apologies to General Motors).
I also believe that Wiccan parents often are uneasy about
the pairing choices the Wiccan High Priest/ess makes during
rituals and sabbats for the parents (and sometimes for the
Wiccan parents' children).

I recommend that prospective Wiccan novices considering joining
a Wiccan Coven _learn in detail_ that Coven's Wiccan Rede
interpretation. Some Coven _Books of Shadows_ contain
oath-bound material known only to Coven members, but a Coven's
Wiccan Rede interpretation should be _freely discussable_.
Prospective Wiccan novices are _not_ yet Coven members. [In
some Covens, apprentices do not become Coven members until after
a year-and-a-day apprenticeship, personal acceptance, and Coven
(a-hem) initiation]. Prospective Wiccan novices might be affected
adversely by a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation. ***I believe
that potential apprentices MUST know if the Wiccan Rede protects
them during their apprenticeship, MUST know if they are free
to terminate their apprenticeship and not join the Coven, and MUST
know the responsibilities and penalties on them (and their family)
if they terminate their Wiccan apprenticeship.*** If this
information is _not_ freely available, I recommend that a person
_not_ make a Wiccan commitment.

Mr. Ballard is writing this clearly so that the issue will _not_
be confused or mistakenly dismissed.

Many Wiccans also promote the 'The Universal Rule Of Three'
(also termed the 'Law of Threefold Return'), the idea that
anything that someone does will be returned to them threefold.
In other words, good deeds are magnified back to the source,
and ill deeds are magnified back to the source.

Like the Wiccan Rede, 'The Universal Rule Of Three' might be
considered a binding rule, advice, or might be ignored by
members of a particular Wiccan Tradition. This is significant --
'ill deeds' depends upon the Tradition-dependent interpretation
of the Wiccan Rede. One Tradition's non-issue might be another
Tradition's sin.

I have major reservations concerning some Wiccans' interpretation
of 'The Universal Rule of Three'. I believe that some Wiccans
interpret 'The Universal Rule of Three' as justifying their acting
as 'judge, jury and executioner'. That is, I believe that some
Wiccans use 'The Universal Rule of Three' to justify 'vigilante
lessons' against non-Wiccans. I have observed situations where
Wiccan Circle and Coven members have cooperated to teach
(punishing) Wiccan lessons to non-Wiccans.

I also have observed situations where Wiccan Circle and Coven
members have hired non-Wiccan mercenaries to teach (violent,
punishing) lessons to non-Wiccans. I find this particularly
troubling. Many Wiccan initiation oaths include the promise
to act 'in perfect love and perfect trust', yet Wiccans are
hiring non-Wiccan mercenaries to violently punish non-Wiccans.
There is an maxim dating back to Victorian England: 'Jack Tar
never is invited to dinner.' The name 'Jack Tar' denotes the
common sailor (who in Victorian times often had hands stained
with tar used to seal wooden ship's hulls). The maxim indicates
that a person can go down to the docks and safely hire a common
sailor to do their dirty work (e.g., cripple a rival, a terrible
form of chaotic magick), knowing that the sailor would ship out
after the dirty work was complete, but the sailor _never_ should
be admitted to your family's acquaintance. Hiring social misfits
to perform Wiccan dirty work is not acting 'in perfect love and
perfect trust', but this _is_ happening.

Mr. Ballard is writing this clearly so that the issue will _not_
be confused or mistakenly dismissed.

***I am _not_ qualified to provide legal opinions.***

F) *Witch* is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret
the term 'witch' as women and men who use Magick in a goal-
oriented manner _not_ constrained by morality or ethics. Witches
are _not_ bound to work in groups or to have common purpose. I
do _not_ consider witchcraft a religion, I do _not_ equate
witchcraft and Wicca, and I know _no requirement_ for an
initiation into witchcraft -- witches can be solitary practitioners.

Apparently Christian governments tested and tried accused witches
as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Witchcraft
Through The Ages", 1922 silent film directed by Benjamin Christensen
and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The Naked Lunch").]

G) I believe that *Wicca* is a Magick-users' religion that
celebrates the (agricultural) fertility of the Earth and human
fertility. I believe that as a religious individuals, Wiccans
_are_ constrained by ethics and morality. I believe that a
religion that celebrates the agricultural fertility of the Earth
must incorporate ecology into its religious beliefs. Similarly,
I believe that a religion that celebrates human fertility must
incorporate _responsible child-bearing_ into its religious beliefs,
including ***avoidance of unwanted pregnancies*** and responsible
loving care of the children both parents choose to have.

Many Wiccan texts discuss ecology -- few discuss responsible
child-bearing and child-raising. I believe that in recent years
the topics of ecology and responsible child-bearing have been
de-emphasized on witchcraft- and Wicca-related Internet newsgroups.
I believe that with the continuing shrinking of the United States'
domestic economy and the shrinking of global energy supplies,
ecology, family planning and responsible child-raising deserve
renewed emphasis. During hard times, raising fewer children
_better_ benefits everyone.

I find it ironic that Wicca and witchcraft dismisses the value
of romantic love. Romantic love stabilizes and strengthens
family relationships and benefits all family members,
particularly the children of loving parents.

Potions and herbs are an integral part of Magick. Along with
renewed emphasis on ecology, family planning and responsible
child-raising I believe that Wiccans must understand the
consequences of both naturally-occuring and human-made mutagenic
substances. Mutagenic substances are substances that modify
genetic material. The human reproductive system is particularly
sensitive to mutagenic substances.

The female and male human reproductive systems differ in
important ways. At menarch (onset of menstruation) a fertile
female already has produced _all of the eggs_ she will produce
throughout her lifetime. Exposure to mutagenic substances
_anytime_ during her lifetime threatens to damage _all_ of a
female's remaining fertile eggs. Once damaged the female's
eggs _never heal_ -- any damage to a female's fertile eggs is
_not_ reversible. Fertile males, OTOH, produce sperm continuously
from onset of puberty through old age -- the quantity and health
(e.g., strength and motility) of the male sperm declines with age,
but sperm production continues. If a male's sperm is damaged due
to exposure to mutagenic substances, the male's genetic damage
might (or might not) heal.

Naturally occuring ionizing radiation also is mutagenic, and
exposure accumulates throughout a person's lifetime. Young
people have less exposure (and less possibility of genetic
damage) from naturally occuring hard radiation.

Mutagenic substances harm human fertility. IMO Wiccans
(with their religious emphasis on human fertility) must be
_acutely aware_ of the consequences of exposure to
mutagenic substances. Some recreational drugs are
mutagenic substances.

Apparently (im)proper nutrition also affects the quality of both
male and female human fertility.

I am _not_ qualified to provide medical opinions.

Wicca with its fertility emphasis also emphasizes The Goddess and
the feminine perspective, but both women and men can be Wiccans.
I do _not_ equate witchcraft and Wicca.

I have observed literally hundreds of questions asking 'What
is the true Wicca?' I have observed few good answers. The
best answer I have observed from others is 'My Wiccan Tradition
defines Wicca to be ... .'

Wicca emphasizes the Goddess and the fertility, but the tenets
followed by most Wiccan Traditions [the Wiccan Rede ('An ye
harm none, do what ye will ...') and 'The Universal Rule Of Three'
('any action will be returned to the source threefold')] have
little correspondence with the Wiccan Goddess and with fertility.
I believe the French concept 'noblesse oblige' is best suited to
Wicca's emphasis of the Goddess and fertility. 'Noblesse oblige'
is an ethical concept stating that individuals who know quality
are obliged to perform quality actions -- the discretion of
prioritizaton is left to the individual. 'Noblesse oblige'
encourages responsible actions. Furthermore, 'noblesse oblige'
unambiguously solves the recurring Wiccan debate concerning
whether performing ill actions _ever_ can be justified under
the Wiccan Rede and 'The Universal Rule Of Three' -- ill actions
_never_ are justified under the concept of 'noblesse oblige'.
The discretion of prioritization allowed under 'noblesse oblige'
reflects economic reality. We cannot afford _everything_ we want.
Often the realistic and quality alternative to an unreasonable
desire is to accept nothing. 'Noblesse oblige' obliges the
individual to make quality, realistic choices followed by quality,
responsible actions. No one is harmed under the 'noblesse oblige'
philosophy.

H) I have ***much*** to say about Wiccan *Tradition*, a complex
and central Wiccan topic. Referencing "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham, pg. 203:
'Tradition, Wiccan: An organized, structured, specific Wiccan
subgroup, usually initiatory, with often unique ritual practices.
Many Traditions have their own _Books of Shadows_ and may or may
not recognize members of other Traditions as Wiccans. Most
Traditions are composed of a number of Covens as well as solitary
practioners.'

There are many valid Wiccan paths -- Gardnerian Wicca was the
first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.
Scott Cunningham's text "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary
Practioner" is well-known and well-regarded within Wiccan
circles. I interpret the term *Tradition* differently: I
interpret Tradition as refering to the Wiccan history and
rituals of _individual_ Wiccan Covens and also of _individual_
Wiccan solitary worshippers. (Nothing that I have said
_prevents_ multiple Wiccan Covens and/or multiple Wiccan
solitary worshippers from sharing an identical Tradition.)
My rationale is that Covens occasionally split because of
differences between members -- it is likely that after the
split, the resulting multiple Covens will have differing
Traditions. Similarly, a Wiccan sometimes leaves a Wiccan
Coven due to differences with other Coven members -- it is
likely that after the split the departing Wiccan will modify
his/her Wiccan Tradition to better reflect his/her individual
beliefs. Equating the term 'Tradition' to a Wiccan Coven's
and/or Wiccan solitary worshipper's individual beliefs
acknowledges that Covens sometimes split and that individuals
leave Covens. In addition, some Wiccan solitary worshippers
_never join a Coven_ -- these individuals define their own
personal Wiccan Traditions.

I believe that my usage of the term 'Tradition' is consistent
with the Wiccan philosophy presented in the text "The Tree:
The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft" by Raymond Buckland.

You need not be a Wiccan to have a Tradition.

Many witches (e.g., Dianic witches) have Traditions. Most
Pagans have Famtrads (i.e., family Traditions).

Furthermore, there are entrepreneurs who are not Wiccans,
witches or Pagans yet who deal with Wiccans, witches and
Pagans. These entrepreneurs gain knowledge of others' Traditions
as a result of their entreprenural activities.

I also want to provide an example. It is widely accepted in
Wiccan circles that if a person wishes to purchase a magickal item,
the person should pay the asked price without question or argument
-- questioning and arguing dishonors both the item (reducing its
magickal value) and also dishonors the item's owner. Imagine
that a magickian owns a silicon amulet of great power. Another
magickian wishes to purchase the silicon amulet but is unwilling
to pay the asked price -- how should the amulet owner respond
to this implied insult? I believe that proper Wiccan tradition
dictates that the amulet owner either should walk away without
argument, or that the amulet owner should present the silicon
amulet as a no-cost gift. Presenting the silicon amulet as a
no-cost gift honors the amulet (increasing the amulet's magickal
power) and honors both the amulet's owner and the amulet's
recipient, while argument or repeated subtle hints accumulate
into a dishonorable insult. ***I believe that honor is powerful
magick.*** I also believe this mercantile example is consistent
with Islamic practice -- in the harsh desert environment
dishonorable behaviour is *not* worth argument and is not
repeated.

I) *Warlock* is a term that many interpret differently. To the
general population 'warlock' refers to a (usually male)
Magick-using warrior. Witch wars are _discouraged_ in Craft and
Wiccan Covens, however, and 'warlock' usually denotes someone
who has been ostracized from a Coven or a group of cooperating
Covens for disobedience to Coven Tradition or to the Coven High
Priest/ess's authority. [In some cases a Coven High Priest/ess
pairs Coven members (and their children) during Sabbats.] The
ostracism that a warlock encounters includes social shunning,
denial of _any_ assistance from Coven members, and so-called
magickal (i.e., chaotic) attacks. The goal of the ostracism is
to force the warlock to _vacate_ the locale where his/her former
Coven worships, preferably moving to another city or state. I
believe this ostracism occurs most frequently in the case of a
(Wiccan or non-Wiccan) man who divorces or deserts his partner,
particularly if the partners have children.

In my opinion Warlocks need not be Wiccans, witches or Pagans.
As I stated previously, I believe that some Wiccans use 'The
Universal Rule of Three' to justify 'vigilante lessons' against
non-Wiccans, including ostracizing non-Wiccan divorcees.

Texts are one source of quality Wiccan information, and texts
do not contain oathbound secrets. Shortly I will provide an
accompanying list of Wicca-related texts in a separate message
entitled "A Reading List for Prospective Wiccan Novices".

Some people question the appropriateness of my providing _any_
comments concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I
believe that detachment is valuable -- _not_ having vested interests
can bring objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my
information can be ignored with little effort***. I do _not_ tell
people how to worship or practice magick in their circles or in
their own homes. And a list of Wicca-related definitions based
upon my studying Wiccan-, Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts
and participating in Wiccan-, craft- and Pagan-related Internet
newsgroups threatens no one.

The comments contained herein are my opinions.

Some people do not agree with my opinions.
I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com
Last book review: "Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving"

Richard Ballard

unread,
Apr 18, 2003, 8:55:26 AM4/18/03
to
In article <20030418025224...@mb-m24.aol.com>,
amber...@aol.com (Amberapple) writes:

>Ballard wrote:
>
>"Apparently Christian governments tested and tried accused witches
>as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Witchcraft
>Through The Ages", 1922 silent film directed by Benjamin Christensen
>and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The Naked Lunch").]"
>

>first of all, Burroughs did not narrate this film in 1922 when it
>was first made; he'd have been merely a child at the time...his
>narration was added in the 1960s.

The date of the narration is *not* relevant.

>Secondly, this is a fictional film, not even prentending to be
>documentary in nature; why would you refer to in a way that
>suggests it would be an effective reference for refuting facts?

I am *not* refuting facts. I am providing information.

Discussion of witch persecution and 'The Burning Times'
is common in Internet newsgroups ARW, ARWM, ATW and AW.
Characterizing witches as 'brides of satan' does not happen
in those newsgroups, but it is common elsewhere. My message
is not the first time these subjects have been broached.

If you read my original words (quoted above) carefully,
you will notice that I carefully selected *non-judgemental
phraseology*. I didn't cast any stones (Biblical and
Islamic allusion intended).

What I *did* provide is a non-Wiccan/witchcraft reference
discussing witch persecution during The Burning Times. The
only other non-Wiccan/witchcraft *available* reference I
know (I wish that I had purchased Dover Publications'
inexpensive texts discussing Aleister Crowley and discussing
Cotton Mather back in the 1970's when they were freely
available) is a recent Discovery Channel program that
discussed the Salem witch trials and conjectured that ergot
poisoning of the grain supply caused seizures and
hallucinations within Salem's population, symptoms that some
attributed to the devil's work. I viewed but did not copy
that Discovery Channel program.

Depending upon your interpretation of history, Anton LaVey's
"The Satanic Witch" may or may not discuss a different
breed of cat. Anton LaVey is the founder of 'The Church
of Satan'.

Aleister Crowley's "MAGICK In Theory and Practice" discusses
witches and witchcraft, and Crowley considered himself the
devil incarnate.

>I am tired of this purported "non-Wiccan" thinking he has answers
>and definitions to impart to seekers...what are you playing at???

I am providing information. I use one and only one Internet
e-mail name and am easy to killfile -- nobody is forced to
read my messages. I do not proselytize. End of play.

Some people do not agree with my opinions.
I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Last book review: "Cults In Our Midst: ..."
by Margaret Thaler Singer

Richard Ballard

unread,
Apr 18, 2003, 5:08:14 PM4/18/03
to
In article <20030418135533...@mb-m26.aol.com>,
aunty...@aol.comeondown (Aunty Kreist) writes:

>Since I'm in Ballard's "global killfile" ...

Why do you believe you are in Mr. Ballard's global killfile?

>... can someone please point out to Ballard that there was
>indeed no Burning Times, and that the number of supposed
>witches that allegedly were killed is absolutely made up?

The Burning Times routinely is discussed in Internet newsgroups
ARW, ARWM, ATW and ARW. If you want a textual reference,
try page 22 of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and
Witchcraft" by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason.
I do *not* recommend this particular text, but it does
illustrate my point.

<snip>

[RB comment: Richard Ballard wrote:]

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 3:31:36 PM6/1/03
to
<*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued monthly -- last updated on June 1, 2003. Part Two is
contained in a subsequent message. Each issue's new and
significantly changed paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.

<*> June 21 (midnight June 22 Stonehenge time), the Northern
Hemisphere's Summer Solstice, is the sabbat Midsummer. This
sabbat was called Vestalia in ancient Rome and Alban Heflin
in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Summer Solstice marks the longest
day(light) of the year, the height of the Sun's (symbolizing
the Wiccan God's) power.

<*> The Midsummer sabbat celebrates fertility. The Wiccan Goddess
is heavy with pregnancy, new farm animals soon will be born,
and the Earth is green with crops and vegetation -- yet
fertility rites continue both to ensure an abundant harvest
and also to ensure the continued prosperity of Pagan
families. The Midsummer sabbat also celebrates the Sun which
warms the fertile Earth, and the strength of the Horned God
and father. Midsummer balefires symbolize the strength of the
Sun and the Pagan father, and (a-hem) fertility celebrations
often accompany the lighting of the balefire.

<*> Some Wiccan Traditions alternate their God personna. The
Holly King rules as Horned God from the Summer Solstice (Midsummer,
June 22nd) through the Winter Solstice (Yule, December 22nd), and
the Oak King rules as Horned God from the Winter Solstice (Yule,
December 22nd) through the Summer Solstice (Midsummer, June 22nd).
These Traditions might stage a Midsummer ritual battle symbolizing
the Holly King vanquishing the Oak King -- in a Yule ritual battle
the Oak King will vanquish the Holly King. This 'changing of
the Kings' marks the annual cycle of the sun.

<*> In Greek mythos the goddess Persephone (Proserpine) was
abducted by Pluto (the God of the Underworld). Persephone's mother
Ceres (the Goddess of fertility and abundance) mourned and the
Earth grew barren. The Earth survived only through the intervention
of the other Gods. The other Gods forced a compromise where
Persephone alternately spent six months aboveground (Summer) with
her mother Ceres, and six months belowground in Hades (Winter) as
Pluto's queen and consort. The earth (and Persephone) was fertile
and warm during the six summer months Persephone spent with Ceres.
The earth (and Persephone) was barren and cold during the six winter
months Ceres mourned Persephone's time as Pluto's consort.

<*> In the Twenty First Century with its high divorce rates
other analogies can be drawn. Children of divorced parents often
live with each of their biological parents during a portion of
the year. Midsummer (end of the school year) and Yule (semester
break) are times when childrens' transition between parents
might occur. And the 'changing of the Kings' can symbolize
separation and divorce -- a new and loving partner vanquishing
an indifferent, abusive, or (morally-)bankrupt partner.

<*> Many tribes view Midsummer as a time for family closeness.
Scandinavians celebrate Thing-Tide just after the time of Midsummer
-- Thing-Tide is a gathering of families to conduct business
before celebration and feasting. St. John's Day is celebrated
in Ireland just before the time of the Midsummer Sabbat -- some
Irish believe that faeries cart off prized livestock and
unsuspecting human revelers (particularly young maidens) on
St. John's Day. German folklore contains numerous stories of
unwise persons who wandered into the woods during Midsummer,
never to return.

<*> The association of Midsummer with family closeness (and the
stories of family members disappearing during Midsummer) might be
related related to the myth of Persephone's abduction by Pluto.
The Holly King / Oak King Tradition might be related to the myth
of Persephone serving two rulers -- Pluto the god of Hades and
Persephone's mother Ceres, the goddess of fertility and abundance.

Midsummer sabbat is the traditional time to gather magickal
and medicinal plants to dry and store for winter use. (This
practice explains why Midsummer sabbat is called Gathering
Day in Wales.) The Celtic Druids gathered their sacred
mistletoe (the golden bough) on Midsummer sabbat. The North
American Miami Indians gathered buckeyes (horse chestnuts)
to fashion into protective amulets and jewelry. Lavender can
be gathered for use as an aphrodisiac incense. Pine cones
can be fashioned into powerful amulets for protection,
fertility and virility.

With this Sabbat approaching many Wiccans are discussing

Some basic definitions:

<*> Magick sometimes is described as being low magick or high
magick. Low magick typically denotes simple magick spells
performed by individuals. High magick typically denotes
ceremonial magick rituals usually performed by groups. Both
complexity and the number of participants differentiate high
magick from low magick. Ritual tools and complexity help
focus and strengthen magickal power, while participation in
group rituals helps focus individuals' magick powers into one
coherent force.

B) *Chaos* is a generic term -- it can describe global warfare
or a squealing infant. I believe that Magickians are
individuals who utilize (and sometimes purposefully create)
Chaos in order to realize their own goals.

<*> Most people are _reactively_ familiar with the so-called
Murphy's Law: 'What ever can go wrong will'. Chaos Magickians
utilize Murphy's Law _PROactively_ -- they purposefully create
an environment and situations where events are likely to go
wrong with confusing, tiring, resource-wasting and demoralizing
effects upon the participants. The Chaos Magickian's long-term
goal is to force the (energy- and resource-) exhausted victim
to submit to the Magickian's purpose.

<*> A group making continuous trivial insults (or making
continuous empty or real threats) is an example of Chaos Magick.
Like a group stoning an individual with pebbles, the significance
of each insult/threat is minimal but the combined effect is tiring
and demoralizing.

is not to step in them in the first place, an option that
sometimes is not possible.

be admitted to your family's acquaintance. Hiring (anti)social


misfits to perform Wiccan dirty work is not acting 'in perfect
love and perfect trust', but this _is_ happening.

<*> In my locale hired mercenaries often are termed 'throw-away
rollers' (analogous to disposable paint rollers). Throw-away
rollers from a different neighborhood are hired, used once, then
thrown away (i.e., never hired again). Not reusing 'throw-away
rollers' helps to ensure that the individual hiring the mercenaries
will not be identified and punished.

Mr. Ballard is writing this clearly so that the issue will _not_
be confused or mistakenly dismissed.

*****End of Part One*****

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal opinions.

The comments contained herein are my opinions.

Some people do not agree with my opinions.
I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Hieronymous707

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 3:44:15 PM6/1/03
to
>From: rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard)

>Mr. Ballard is writing this clearly so that the issue will _not_
>be confused or mistakenly dismissed.

Pull my finger.

-hi-

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 4:01:08 PM6/1/03
to
<*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued monthly -- last updated on June 1, 2003. Part One is
contained in a previous message. Each issue's new and
significantly changed paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.

F) *Witch* is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret


the term 'witch' as women and men who use Magick in a goal-
oriented manner _not_ constrained by morality or ethics. Witches
are _not_ bound to work in groups or to have common purpose. I
do _not_ consider witchcraft a religion, I do _not_ equate
witchcraft and Wicca, and I know _no requirement_ for an
initiation into witchcraft -- witches can be solitary practitioners.

<*> Apparently Christian governments tested and tried accused witches
as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Haxan:
Witchcraft Through The Ages", 1929 silent film directed by Benjamin

Christensen and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The

Naked Lunch"). "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"
by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason is a textual reference
to 'The Burning Times'.]

G) I believe that *Wicca* is a Magick-users' religion that
celebrates the (agricultural) fertility of the Earth and human
fertility. I believe that as a religious individuals, Wiccans
_are_ constrained by ethics and morality. I believe that a
religion that celebrates the agricultural fertility of the Earth
must incorporate ecology into its religious beliefs. Similarly,
I believe that a religion that celebrates human fertility must
incorporate _responsible child-bearing_ into its religious beliefs,
including ***avoidance of unwanted pregnancies*** and responsible
loving care of the children both parents choose to have.

<*> Many Wiccan texts discuss ecology -- few discuss responsible


child-bearing and child-raising. I believe that in recent years
the topics of ecology and responsible child-bearing have been
de-emphasized on witchcraft- and Wicca-related Internet newsgroups.
I believe that with the continuing shrinking of the United States'
domestic economy and the shrinking of global energy supplies,
ecology, family planning and responsible child-raising deserve
renewed emphasis. During hard times, raising fewer children

_better_ benefits everyone. At the same time, IMO with good faith
modern birth control is very effective and physical intimacy
strengthens the spousal bond.

<*> Apparently (im)proper nutrition also affects the quality
of both male and female human fertility. Given that a woman's
lifetime supply of fertile eggs exists at menarche (onset of
menstruation), the importance of good childhood nutrition
for females is obvious.

I have observed literally hundreds of questions asking 'What
is the true Wicca?' I have observed few good answers. The
best answer I have observed from others is 'My Wiccan Tradition
defines Wicca to be ... .'

<*> Wicca with its fertility emphasis emphasizes The Goddess

and the feminine perspective, but both women and men can be

Wiccans. In my experience male witches are a rarity. In
my locale young men are drawn to satanism rather than Wicca.

<*> 'Blessed be' is a common Wiccan salutation. 'Blessed be'
has several interpretations. In my locale the most common
interpretation is 'I hope that your attempts at pregnancy
are successful'. A less common interpretation is 'I hope
that your partner/significant-other will submit' (usually
to matrimony or to joining a Coven/Family). A less common
interpretation is the tattoo needle or marker (analogous to
a bee stinger) that is used to mark initiates who have completed
their apprenticeship and who are qualified to become full Wiccan
Coven or Pagan Family members.

Wicca emphasizes the Goddess and the fertility, but the tenets
followed by most Wiccan Traditions [the Wiccan Rede ('An ye
harm none, do what ye will ...') and 'The Universal Rule Of Three'
('any action will be returned to the source threefold')] have
little correspondence with the Wiccan Goddess and with fertility.
I believe the French concept 'noblesse oblige' is best suited to
Wicca's emphasis of the Goddess and fertility. 'Noblesse oblige'
is an ethical concept stating that individuals who know quality
are obliged to perform quality actions -- the discretion of
prioritizaton is left to the individual. 'Noblesse oblige'
encourages responsible actions. Furthermore, 'noblesse oblige'
unambiguously solves the recurring Wiccan debate concerning
whether performing ill actions _ever_ can be justified under
the Wiccan Rede and 'The Universal Rule Of Three' -- ill actions
_never_ are justified under the concept of 'noblesse oblige'.
The discretion of prioritization allowed under 'noblesse oblige'
reflects economic reality. We cannot afford _everything_ we want.
Often the realistic and quality alternative to an unreasonable
desire is to accept nothing. 'Noblesse oblige' obliges the
individual to make quality, realistic choices followed by quality,
responsible actions. No one is harmed under the 'noblesse oblige'
philosophy.

<*> I do _not_ equate witchcraft and Wicca. I strongly recommend
viewing the film "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages" by director
Benjamin Christenson. The film is very prejudicial against witches,
but it documents public perception of witchcraft as lacking a
moral or ethical character. I believe that Wicca is a religion
that includes morality and ethics. Without morality and ethics I
believe that public perception of Wicca will be as prejudicial as
the attitudes presented in "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages".

*****End of Part Two*****

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.


The comments contained herein are my opinions.

Some people do not agree with my opinions.
I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Alan O'Brien

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 4:53:29 PM6/1/03
to

"Richard Ballard" <rball...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20030601160108...@mb-m01.aol.com...

> <*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
> Issued monthly -- last updated on June 1, 2003. Part One is
> contained in a previous message. Each issue's new and
> significantly changed paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.
>
> F) *Witch* is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret
> the term 'witch' as women who are hideous old bags. Witches
> are bound to work in groups or to have common purpose. I
> consider witchcraft a religion, I equate
> witchcraft and Wicca, and I know of a requirement for an
> initiation into witchcraft -- although witches can be solitary
practitioners.
>
> <*> No known Christian governments tested and tried accused witches

> as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Haxan:
> Witchcraft Through The Ages", 1929 silent film directed by Benjamin
> Christensen and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The
> Naked Lunch"). "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"
> by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason is a textual reference
> to 'The Burning Times'.]
>
> G) I believe that *Wicca* is a Magick-users' religion that
> celebrates the (agricultural) fertility of the Earth and human
> poo-poo. I believe that as a religious individuals, Wiccans
> are not constrained by ethics and morality. I believe that a
> religion that celebrates the agricultural fertility of the Earth and poo
poo

> must incorporate ecology into its religious beliefs. Similarly,
> I believe that a religion that celebrates human fertility must
> incorporate _responsible child-bearing into its religious beliefs,
> including avoidance of unwanted pregnancies and responsible

> loving care of the children both parents choose to have.
>
> <*> Few Wiccan texts discuss ecology -- and none discusses responsible

> child-bearing and child-raising. I believe that in recent years
> the topics of ecology and responsible child-bearing have been
> de-emphasized on witchcraft- and Wicca-related Internet newsgroups.
> I believe that with the continuing shrinking of the United States's's

> domestic economy and the shrinking of global energy supplies,
> ecology, family planning and all them ting. During hard times, raising
fewer children
> _better_ , and benefits everyone. At the same time, IMO and WHO with good

faith
> modern birth control is very effective and physical intimacy
> strengthens the espousal bond.
>
> I find it ironic that Wicca and witchcraft dismisseses the value
> of romantic . Romantic luuurve stabilizes and strengthens

> family relationships and benefits all family members,
> particularly the children of loving parents.
>
> Potions and herbs are an integral part of Magick. Along with
> renewed emphasis on ecology, family planning and responsible
> child-raising, an alldem ting I believe that Wiccans must understand the
> consequences of both naturally-occuring bodily functions and human-made
mutagenic
> substances. Mutagenic substances are substances that modify, solidify and
analyse

> genetic material. The human reproductive system is particularly
> sensitive to mutagenic substances.
>
> The female and human reproductive systems differ in
> important ways. At menarch (onset of menstruation -euuuuuw!!) a fertile
> female has already produced all of the eggs - over one trillion - she will

produce
> throughout her lifetime. Exposure to mutagenic substances
> _anytime_ during her lifetime threatens to damage _all_ of a
> female's remaining fertile eggs. Once damaged the female's
> eggs _never heal_ -- any damage to a female's fertile eggs is
> reversible. Fertile males, ROFLMFAO I am getting bored around here,

Hieronymous707

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 8:14:42 PM6/1/03
to
>From: rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard)

> P[h]art One is contained in a previous message.

Instead, a rhyme rent, sent to -hi- scent your head, re
a pause for the cause, surely silent ... but deadly.

...

-hi-

David Cantu

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 8:37:17 PM6/1/03
to

Hieronymous707 wrote:

I should a known that's what I'd get if I'd pulled.

Hieronymous707

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 8:48:56 PM6/1/03
to
>From: David Cantu dc...@houston.rr.com

> I should a known that's what I'd get if I'd pulled.

Knock knock.

-hi-

David Cantu

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 9:17:16 PM6/1/03
to

Hieronymous707 wrote:

There's who.

>
>

Hieronymous707

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 5:31:55 AM6/2/03
to
>From: David Cantu dc...@houston.rr.com

>There's who.

Who's on first.

You should a known that too.

-hi-

The Natural Philosopher

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 8:36:48 AM6/2/03
to
It is highly likley that wiyches were, in european tradition, teh last
remnants ofa pre christian shamanic culture. That is they were
custodians of the secret lore of herbs, poisons, various dugs, notably
belladonna type compounds, plus a suite of quasi religious beliefs that
derived ftom their use of the same.

They have little or nothing to do with modern Wicca.

David Cantu

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 11:18:02 AM6/2/03
to

Hieronymous707 wrote:

What was.
Before that, I don't know.


Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 12:43:17 PM6/2/03
to
Your comments are poorly and confusingly written -- to the
point that it is difficult to distinguish your comments from
my original message.

I refer interested readers to my original message.

In article <eJtCa.270$Zb7...@news-binary.blueyonder.co.uk>,

"Alan O'Brien" <alaneobr...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes:

>"Richard Ballard" <rball...@aol.com> wrote in message
>news:20030601160108...@mb-m01.aol.com...

<total disconnect snip>

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 12:43:20 PM6/2/03
to
In article <3EDB44E0.9080704@b.c>,
The Natural Philosopher <a@b.c> writes:

>It is highly likley that wiyches were, in european tradition,
>teh last remnants ofa pre christian shamanic culture. That is
>they were custodians of the secret lore of herbs, poisons,
>various dugs, notably belladonna type compounds, plus a suite
>of quasi religious beliefs that derived ftom their use of
>the same.
>
>They have little or nothing to do with modern Wicca.

There is a possibility that The Burning Times (e.g.,
the Salem witch trials) were initiated after livestock
and peasants ate wet ergot-infested grain and developed
epileptic-like seizures that overzealous inquisitors
attributed to witchcraft and demonic possession.

My earlier message distinguished between witchcraft
(goal-oriented magick use) and Wicca (IMO a magick
user's religion that *must* embody ethics and morality
if it is to be distinguished from generic witchcraft).
I believe that the general public has difficulty
differentiating between witchcraft and modern Wicca.

<snip>

Hieronymous707

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 5:50:32 PM6/2/03
to
>From: David Cantu dc...@houston.rr.com

>What was.

Exactly my point.

>Before that, I don't know.

I've heard that ginko biloba is good for that,
but I'd check with your family physician first
before taking any supplements for memory loss.

-hi-

Hieronymous707

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 9:05:46 AM6/3/03
to
>From: David Cantu dc...@houston.rr.com

"Instead, a rhyme rent, sent to -hi- scent your head, re
a pause for the cause, surely silent ... but deadly."

> I should a known that's what I'd get if I'd pulled.

I would, if I could, write words that make you think fast,
but smarts, just like farts, linger after the stink's passed,
and words that you've heard spell another breath spent.
You can tell by the smell, I'm indeed flatulent
with little to say to stay all the reports
that all that remains are the stains in my shorts,
and this verse that gets worse by the day ... nay, say hour.
It's no joke when a spoken word heard needs a shower,
and that's where I'm headed, I've fretted enough
about spelling out all of this stinky stuff.

-hi-

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 4, 2003, 2:34:27 PM6/4/03
to
I have received so many comments concerning the original
message Part Two that a significant number of paragraphs
have been altered. I have removed the old markers and
have annotated newly-altered paragraphs with <*> markers.

Rather than wait ~6 weeks to reissue this message, I am
supplying an interim version of the message's *entire*
Part Two.

<*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.

Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat --
last updated on June 4, 2003. Part Two is contained in a
subsequent message. Each issue's new and significantly


changed paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.

F) *Witch* is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret
the term 'witch' as women and men who use Magick in a goal-
oriented manner _not_ constrained by morality or ethics. Witches
are _not_ bound to work in groups or to have common purpose. I
do _not_ consider witchcraft a religion, I do _not_ equate
witchcraft and Wicca, and I know _no requirement_ for an
initiation into witchcraft -- witches can be solitary practitioners.

Apparently Christian governments tested and tried accused witches


as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Haxan:
Witchcraft Through The Ages", 1929 silent film directed by Benjamin
Christensen and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The
Naked Lunch"). "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"
by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason is a textual reference
to 'The Burning Times'.]

G) I believe that *Wicca* is a Magick-users' religion that
celebrates the (agricultural) fertility of the Earth and human
fertility. I believe that as a religious individuals, Wiccans
_are_ constrained by ethics and morality. I believe that a
religion that celebrates the agricultural fertility of the Earth
must incorporate ecology into its religious beliefs. Similarly,
I believe that a religion that celebrates human fertility must
incorporate _responsible child-bearing_ into its religious beliefs,
including ***avoidance of unwanted pregnancies*** and responsible
loving care of the children both parents choose to have.

Many Wiccan texts discuss ecology -- few discuss responsible

Apparently (im)proper nutrition also affects the quality


of both male and female human fertility. Given that a woman's
lifetime supply of fertile eggs exists at menarche (onset of
menstruation), the importance of good childhood nutrition
for females is obvious.

I have observed literally hundreds of questions asking 'What
is the true Wicca?' I have observed few good answers. The
best answer I have observed from others is 'My Wiccan Tradition
defines Wicca to be ... .'

Wicca with its fertility emphasis emphasizes The Goddess


and the feminine perspective, but both women and men can be
Wiccans. In my experience male witches are a rarity. In
my locale young men are drawn to satanism rather than Wicca.

'Blessed be' is a common Wiccan salutation. 'Blessed be'


has several interpretations. In my locale the most common
interpretation is 'I hope that your attempts at pregnancy
are successful'. A less common interpretation is 'I hope
that your partner/significant-other will submit' (usually
to matrimony or to joining a Coven/Family). A less common
interpretation is the tattoo needle or marker (analogous to
a bee stinger) that is used to mark initiates who have completed
their apprenticeship and who are qualified to become full Wiccan
Coven or Pagan Family members.

<*> Wicca emphasizes the Goddess and the fertility, but the tenets


followed by most Wiccan Traditions [the Wiccan Rede ('An ye
harm none, do what ye will ...') and 'The Universal Rule Of Three'
('any action will be returned to the source threefold')] have
little correspondence with the Wiccan Goddess and with fertility.
I believe the French concept 'noblesse oblige' is best suited to
Wicca's emphasis of the Goddess and fertility. 'Noblesse oblige'
is an ethical concept stating that individuals who know quality
are obliged to perform quality actions -- the discretion of
prioritizaton is left to the individual. 'Noblesse oblige'
encourages responsible actions. Furthermore, 'noblesse oblige'
unambiguously solves the recurring Wiccan debate concerning
whether performing ill actions _ever_ can be justified under
the Wiccan Rede and 'The Universal Rule Of Three' -- ill actions
_never_ are justified under the concept of 'noblesse oblige'.
The discretion of prioritization allowed under 'noblesse oblige'
reflects economic reality. We cannot afford _everything_ we want.
Often the realistic and quality alternative to an unreasonable
desire is to accept nothing. 'Noblesse oblige' obliges the
individual to make quality, realistic choices followed by quality,
responsible actions. No one is harmed under the 'noblesse

oblige' philosophy, yet nobody might benefit if accepting nothing
is the alternative which is chosen.

<*> Witch wars sometimes result in chaotic attacks -- i.e., a
flood of annoyances, insults and small injuries. Under a 'noblesse
oblige' philosophy should One suffer these attacks stoically, or
should One respond to the attacks?

<*> I believe that accumulation of harm dictates the victim's
response. Ignoring a small annoyance, a small insult, or a small
injury is both polite and economical. But repeated small
annoyances, small insults, and small injuries can accumulate into
significant harm.

<*> I believe that submitting to significant harm is damaging both
to an individual's life and also to their self-respect. I also
believe that submitting to significant harm might be not moral
and not ethical -- the victim is ignoring the difference (and the
consequences) between right and ... (a-hem) wrong.

<*> Thus I believe that an ethical person's stoicism must be
tempered by the accumulated harm received. IMO infinite
stoicism is self-destructive.

<*> The alternative to self-destruction? Well, one alternative
is the realization that the lightest burdens are those that you
refuse to carry (e.g., another's self-serving attempts to
instill unreasonable guilt).

<*> I do _not_ equate witchcraft and Wicca. I strongly recommend
viewing the film "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages" by director

Benjamin Christenson. The film is very (stereotypically) prejudicial
against witches, but the film explains the reasons underlying its
prejudices and the film documents public perception of witchcraft


as lacking a moral or ethical character. I believe that Wicca is
a religion that includes morality and ethics. Without morality
and ethics I believe that public perception of Wicca will be as
prejudicial as the attitudes presented in "Haxan: Witchcraft
Through The Ages".

H) I have ***much*** to say about Wiccan *Tradition*, a complex
and central Wiccan topic. Referencing "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham, pg. 203:
'Tradition, Wiccan: An organized, structured, specific Wiccan
subgroup, usually initiatory, with often unique ritual practices.
Many Traditions have their own _Books of Shadows_ and may or may
not recognize members of other Traditions as Wiccans. Most
Traditions are composed of a number of Covens as well as solitary
practioners.'

<*> There are many valid Wiccan paths. Gardnerian Wicca was the


first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.

I believe that (due to economics) Gardnerian Wicca has little
relevance to 21st-Century United States society. I believe that
due to economic trends (e.g., increased cost of living due to
higher petroleum prices --> unaffordable cars) Gardnerian Wicca's
relevance will continue to decline in the United States as the
21st-Century progresses.

<*> I also want to provide an example. It is widely accepted in
Wiccan circles that if a person wishes to acquire a magickal item,
the person should pay the cost without question or argument


-- questioning and arguing dishonors both the item (reducing its
magickal value) and also dishonors the item's owner. Imagine

that a Magickian owns a silicon amulet of great power. Another
Magickian wishes to acquire the silicon amulet but believes the
cost is unfair and is not willing to pay the cost -- how should


the amulet owner respond to this implied insult?

<*> This situation reminds me of the maxim 'An accountant
knows the cost of every thing but the value of no thing'. The
Magickian wishing to acquire the amulet respects the amulet's
fair value but considers the cost unfair. I believe that
proper tradition dictates no negotiations -- the amulet's
owner either should walk away without argument and without
subsequently employing proxies as intermediary agents, or the
amulet's owner should present the silicon amulet as a no-cost


gift. Presenting the silicon amulet as a no-cost gift honors
the amulet (increasing the amulet's magickal power) and honors

both the amulet's owner and the amulet's recipient.
***I believe that honor (and reputation) are powerful magick***.
I also believe that arguments, repeated hints and/or proxy
intermediaries accumulate into a dishonorable ending.

<*> I believe this example is consistent with Islamic practice.
The harsh desert environment requires good faith relationships.
In the harsh desert environment, contentious behaviour is *not*
worthwhile and is not repeated -- analogous to not negotiating
with a merchant who has treated you unfairly in the past.

<*> I) *Warlock* is a term that many interpret differently. To


the general population 'warlock' refers to a (usually male)
Magick-using warrior. Witch wars are _discouraged_ in Craft and
Wiccan Covens, however, and 'warlock' usually denotes someone
who has been ostracized from a Coven or a group of cooperating
Covens for disobedience to Coven Tradition or to the Coven High
Priest/ess's authority. [In some cases a Coven High Priest/ess
pairs Coven members (and their children) during Sabbats.] The
ostracism that a warlock encounters includes social shunning,
denial of _any_ assistance from Coven members, and so-called

chaotic attacks (e.g., floods of annoyances, insults and small
injuries). The ostracism's goal is to force the warlock to


_vacate_ the locale where his/her former Coven worships,

preferably moving to another city or state. (In the Midwest
city where I grew up people talked about 'running somebody out
of town on a rail'.) I believe this ostracism occurs most
often in the case of a Pagan man who divorces or deserts his
partner, particularly if the partners have children. But the
ostracism also occurs in divorcing households that do not
include children, and in my locale non-Pagan divorcing men
also experience this ostracism.

<*> Pagans sometimes refer to non-Pagans as 'cowans'. The
term cowan is derived primarily from Freemasonry: 'cowans'
were non-Masonic stoneworkers who either produced inferior
work and thus were not eligible to join or worked only in
drystone (without mortar), which apparently didn't count.
[Interestingly, drystone work can be *very* difficult because
individual stones are independently fitted and laid. Mortar
can act as glue and a filler to patch weaknesses in mortared
stone construction.]

<*> As I stated previously, I believe that some Wiccans use


'The Universal Rule of Three' to justify 'vigilante lessons'

against both Wiccans and non-Wiccans, including ostracizing
non-Wiccan divorcing men regardless of whether the divorcing
household includes children. I find this ethically troubling.
Non-Pagans are *not* Wiccan Coven or Pagan Family members.
Non-Pagans took no binding oaths -- they are *not* oath breakers.
In effect, non-Pagans 'did not sign the contract', but they
are being punished for breaking oaths that they never accepted.
IMO a Lot can happen as a result of this unethical treatment.

<*> Texts and films are one source of quality Wiccan information,
and these references do not contain oathbound secrets. I will
provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent messages entitled "A Reference List for Prospective
Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)".

Some people question the appropriateness of my providing _any_
comments concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I
believe that detachment is valuable -- _not_ having vested interests
can bring objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my
information can be ignored with little effort***. I do _not_ tell
people how to worship or practice magick in their circles or in
their own homes. And a list of Wicca-related definitions based
upon my studying Wiccan-, Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts
and participating in Wiccan-, craft- and Pagan-related Internet
newsgroups threatens no one.

<*> Ultimately, each reader must judge individually.

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 1:28:44 PM7/11/03
to
Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
Part Two is contained in a subsequent message titled "Definitions
For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Two of Two Parts)". Each

issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin with a
<*> marker.

<*> August first Midnight Stonehenge time (July 31st 7:00 PM CDT
in my locale) is the sabbat Lammas [an Anglo-Saxon word meaning
loaf-mass (bread) and the most commonly-used name for this sabbat].
In old Irish a variant Lunasa means 'August'. Lammas also is known
as Lughnasadh (Loo-nahs-ah), First Harvest, and the Sabbat of the
First Fruits. Lammas honors the Sun God Lugh (Loo) and his queen
Dana, but Lammas principally is a grain festival. In ancient
Phoenicia this festival honored the grain god Dagon, and a
significant portion of the harvest was sacrificed to him.
Similarly, Native Americans celebrate early August as a grain
festival and call it the Festival of the Maize. Corn, wheat,
barley, and other Northern Hemisphere grains are ready for
harvesting by early August. Lammas is the first of the three
harvest sabbats and a celebration of the Earth's fertility. Corn,
wheat, potatoes and other crops harvested around Lammas are
considered fertility plants and can be employed within Lammas
rituals.

<*> In Romania's Transylvanian Alps (high in the Carpathian Mountains
and the legendary home of Dracula) a fertility ritual involving
animal sacrifice is practiced the first Sunday of August. A live
sow is slain ritually on the high slopes of Mt. Chefleau in thanks
for the abundant harvest, the sow's blood is allowed to flow into
the earth, then the peasants touch their hands to the wet ground
and mark the sign of the cross (for protection and self-blessing)
in wet blood on their foreheads. Some groups mimic this
Transylvanian custom, honoring the pig as an efficient converter
of grain into lean meat during abundant times. Many groups use
red wine to symbolize blood during their rituals. Other groups
might mimic this Transylvanian custom exactly (i.e., blood from
animal ritual sacrifice) or even utilize human blood (e.g., from
a deliberate cut). Recalling that the Lammas sabbat *does*
celebrate fertility, some groups might employ human menstrual blood
during their Lammas ritual. And it is conceivable that some groups
might employ human virginal blood within their Lammas ritual (i.e.,
a female virgin has her first sex as a part of the group's Lammas
ritual).

With this sabbat approaching, many Wiccans are discussing

Some basic definitions:

Magick sometimes is described as being low magick or high


magick. Low magick typically denotes simple magick spells
performed by individuals. High magick typically denotes
ceremonial magick rituals usually performed by groups. Both
complexity and the number of participants differentiate high
magick from low magick. Ritual tools and complexity help
focus and strengthen magickal power, while participation in
group rituals helps focus individuals' magick powers into one
coherent force.

B) *Chaos* is a generic term -- it can describe global warfare
or a squealing infant. I believe that Magickians are
individuals who utilize (and sometimes purposefully create)
Chaos in order to realize their own goals.

Most people are _reactively_ familiar with the so-called


Murphy's Law: 'What ever can go wrong will'. Chaos Magickians
utilize Murphy's Law _PROactively_ -- they purposefully create
an environment and situations where events are likely to go
wrong with confusing, tiring, resource-wasting and demoralizing
effects upon the participants. The Chaos Magickian's long-term
goal is to force the (energy- and resource-) exhausted victim
to submit to the Magickian's purpose.

A group making continuous trivial insults (or making


continuous empty or real threats) is an example of Chaos Magick.
Like a group stoning an individual with pebbles, the significance
of each insult/threat is minimal but the combined effect is tiring
and demoralizing.

<*> IMO the Wiccan greeting 'Blessed be' is a mixed blessing.
'Blessed be' can denote the benign wish "May your attempts at
pregnancy be successful." 'Blessed be(e)' also can denote the
pin used to poke holes in a condom to facilitate pregnancy and
subsequent forced marriage, an act that *either* partner can
initiate. (I discuss other 'blessed be' interpretations in
the subsequent message.)

C) Historically (and ironically) the word *craftsman* (and its
modern variant *craftsperson*) has referred to a perfectionist
whose work is beyond reproach -- Chaos-free. Yet those who
practice Magick often are said to practice 'The Craft'.

D) According to Scott Cunningham's well-regarded text "Wicca:

A Guide For The Solitary Practioner" (pg. 63), the eight *sabbats*
are days of power. Four sabbats coincide with Solstices and


Equinoxes (the beginnings of the four seasons), and the other four

sabbats are based upon ancient folk festivals, including those of
the ancient Near East.

Within her text "Inside A Witches' Coven" Ms. Edain McCoy states

(pg. 140) that the origin of the word sabbat is the Greek word


'sabatu' meaning 'to rest'.

I believe that the word sabbat also shares linguistic roots with


the Hebrew words Saba (e.g., Sheba, an ancient kingdom of southern
Arabia), Sabaism (the worship of stars and the heavens), Shebat
(the fifth month of the Jewish calendar that roughly coincides
with Imbolg), and 'shabbath' [to rest; (i.e., Sabbath, a period
of rest)].

Some Covens perform _no magic_ during sabbats, treating sabbats
as occasions for rest and rejoicing. Other Covens view sabbats


as a time for powerful magick (often fertility magick). Whether

magick is performed during a sabbat celebration depends upon a
Coven's Tradition.

E) The Wiccan *Rede* is the best-known Wiccan tenet. Depending
upon the Tradition one follows, the Rede might be a binding rule,
the Rede might be considered advice, or the Rede might be ignored.

The most common statement of the Wiccan Rede is 'An ye harm
none, do what ye will'. I have observed several different
(Wiccan Tradition-dependent) interpretations of this eight-word
statement -- the words 'harm', 'none', 'do' and 'will' are
subject to interpretation. An obvious example: Does 'harm
none' refer to members of the given Wiccan Coven, to members
of the given Wiccan Tradition, to all Wiccans, or to
humankind? Furthermore, I have observed statements of the
Wiccan Rede that go on for pages like a legal contract, and
I have observed Wiccan Traditions that effectively ignore the
Wiccan Rede completely. I am _not_ comfortable with all
Traditions' interpretation of the Wiccan Rede.

<*> There are many valid Wiccan paths -- Gardnerian Wicca was the


first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.
The Wiccan Gardnerian Tradition reflects English socioeconomic
culture 50 years ago. Gardnerian Wicca was initiated by
upper-income British who were able to hire low/middle-income
servants as 'apprentices'. I believe that many prospective Wiccan
novices would find the traditional 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship
_not_ acceptable if that apprenticeship took the form of _mandatory
and unbreakable servitude_. (I am discussing an apprentice's loss
of the ability to _drop out_ of an apprenticeship program by
terminating the associated service period voluntarily and early.
***I am discussing loss of freedom of choice***. A Lot can happen

during a 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship. Some paths are one-way
paths having *no possible return* -- this hap pens too many times.)

<*> Interestingly, while age 18 is the legal 'age of sexual consent'
in most of the United States, unmarried children are not declared
legal adults and remain under their parents' supervision in most
of the United States through age 21. This three year period can
represent a 'limbo' period for unmarried children of Wiccan parents
-- they are sexually but not legally mature.

In my locale hired mercenaries often are termed 'throw-away


rollers' (analogous to disposable paint rollers). Throw-away
rollers from a different neighborhood are hired, used once, then
thrown away (i.e., never hired again). Not reusing 'throw-away
rollers' helps to ensure that the individual hiring the mercenaries
will not be identified and punished.

Mr. Ballard is writing this clearly so that the issue will _not_
be confused or mistakenly dismissed.

*****End of Part One*****

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.


The comments contained herein are my opinions.

I got no problems
20:51:00
20:52:00
'Life in the trailer park'
is a *long* sentence

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Last book review: "Combatting Cult Mind Control"
by Steven Hassan

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 1:37:50 PM7/11/03
to
Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
Part One is contained in an earlier message titled "Definitions
For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One of Two Parts)". Each

issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin with a
<*> marker.

F) *Witch* is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret
the term 'witch' as women and men who use Magick in a goal-
oriented manner _not_ constrained by morality or ethics. Witches
are _not_ bound to work in groups or to have common purpose. I
do _not_ consider witchcraft a religion, I do _not_ equate
witchcraft and Wicca, and I know _no requirement_ for an
initiation into witchcraft -- witches can be solitary practitioners.

Apparently Christian governments tested and tried accused witches


as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Haxan:
Witchcraft Through The Ages", 1929 silent film directed by Benjamin
Christensen and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The
Naked Lunch"). "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"
by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason is a textual reference
to 'The Burning Times'.]

G) I believe that *Wicca* is a Magick-users' religion that
celebrates the (agricultural) fertility of the Earth and human
fertility. I believe that as a religious individuals, Wiccans
_are_ constrained by ethics and morality. I believe that a
religion that celebrates the agricultural fertility of the Earth
must incorporate ecology into its religious beliefs. Similarly,
I believe that a religion that celebrates human fertility must
incorporate _responsible child-bearing_ into its religious beliefs,
including ***avoidance of unwanted pregnancies*** and responsible
loving care of the children both parents choose to have.

Many Wiccan texts discuss ecology -- few discuss responsible

Apparently (im)proper nutrition also affects the quality


of both male and female human fertility. Given that a woman's
lifetime supply of fertile eggs exists at menarche (onset of
menstruation), the importance of good childhood nutrition
for females is obvious.

I have observed literally hundreds of questions asking 'What
is the true Wicca?' I have observed few good answers. The
best answer I have observed from others is 'My Wiccan Tradition
defines Wicca to be ... .'

Wicca with its fertility emphasis emphasizes The Goddess


and the feminine perspective, but both women and men can be
Wiccans. In my experience male witches are a rarity. In
my locale young men are drawn to satanism rather than Wicca.

<*> 'Blessed be' is a common Wiccan salutation. 'Blessed be'
has several interpretations. In my locale the most common
interpretation is 'I hope that your attempts at pregnancy
are successful'. A less common interpretation is 'I hope
that your partner/significant-other will submit' (usually

to matrimony or to joining a Coven/Family). This interpretation
can be aided by the use of a 'blessed bee' -- a needle used to
puncture holes in a condom to facilitate pregnancy and
subsequent forced marriage (an act that either partner can
perform. Sexually transmitted diseases can complicate this
action.) Another less common 'blessed bee' interpretation is
the tattoo needle or marker that is used to mark initiates


who have completed their apprenticeship and who are qualified
to become full Wiccan Coven or Pagan Family members.

Wicca emphasizes the Goddess and the fertility, but the tenets
followed by most Wiccan Traditions [the Wiccan Rede ('An ye
harm none, do what ye will ...') and 'The Universal Rule Of Three'
('any action will be returned to the source threefold')] have
little correspondence with the Wiccan Goddess and with fertility.
I believe the French concept 'noblesse oblige' is best suited to
Wicca's emphasis of the Goddess and fertility. 'Noblesse oblige'
is an ethical concept stating that individuals who know quality
are obliged to perform quality actions -- the discretion of
prioritizaton is left to the individual. 'Noblesse oblige'
encourages responsible actions. Furthermore, 'noblesse oblige'
unambiguously solves the recurring Wiccan debate concerning
whether performing ill actions _ever_ can be justified under
the Wiccan Rede and 'The Universal Rule Of Three' -- ill actions
_never_ are justified under the concept of 'noblesse oblige'.
The discretion of prioritization allowed under 'noblesse oblige'
reflects economic reality. We cannot afford _everything_ we want.
Often the realistic and quality alternative to an unreasonable
desire is to accept nothing. 'Noblesse oblige' obliges the
individual to make quality, realistic choices followed by quality,
responsible actions. No one is harmed under the 'noblesse

oblige' philosophy, yet nobody might benefit if accepting nothing
is the alternative which is chosen.

Witch wars sometimes result in chaotic attacks -- i.e., a


flood of annoyances, insults and small injuries. Under a 'noblesse
oblige' philosophy should One suffer these attacks stoically, or
should One respond to the attacks?

I believe that accumulation of harm dictates the victim's


response. Ignoring a small annoyance, a small insult, or a small
injury is both polite and economical. But repeated small
annoyances, small insults, and small injuries can accumulate into
significant harm.

I believe that submitting to significant harm is damaging both


to an individual's life and also to their self-respect. I also
believe that submitting to significant harm might be not moral
and not ethical -- the victim is ignoring the difference (and the
consequences) between right and ... (a-hem) wrong.

Thus I believe that an ethical person's stoicism must be


tempered by the accumulated harm received. IMO infinite
stoicism is self-destructive.

The alternative to self-destruction? Well, one alternative


is the realization that the lightest burdens are those that you
refuse to carry (e.g., another's self-serving attempts to
instill unreasonable guilt).

I do _not_ equate witchcraft and Wicca. I strongly recommend


viewing the film "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages" by director

Benjamin Christenson. The film is very (stereotypically) prejudicial
against witches, but the film explains the reasons underlying its

prejudices and the film documents public perception of witchcraft


as lacking a moral or ethical character. I believe that Wicca is
a religion that includes morality and ethics. Without morality
and ethics I believe that public perception of Wicca will be as
prejudicial as the attitudes presented in "Haxan: Witchcraft
Through The Ages".

H) I have ***much*** to say about Wiccan *Tradition*, a complex
and central Wiccan topic. Referencing "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham, pg. 203:
'Tradition, Wiccan: An organized, structured, specific Wiccan
subgroup, usually initiatory, with often unique ritual practices.
Many Traditions have their own _Books of Shadows_ and may or may
not recognize members of other Traditions as Wiccans. Most
Traditions are composed of a number of Covens as well as solitary
practioners.'

There are many valid Wiccan paths. Gardnerian Wicca was the


first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.

I believe that (due to economics) Gardnerian Wicca has little
relevance to 21st-Century United States society. I believe that
due to economic trends (e.g., increased cost of living due to
higher petroleum prices --> unaffordable cars) Gardnerian Wicca's
relevance will continue to decline in the United States as the
21st-Century progresses.

Scott Cunningham's text "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary

Wiccan circles that if a person wishes to acquire a magickal item,
the person should pay the cost without question or argument


-- questioning and arguing dishonors both the item (reducing its
magickal value) and also dishonors the item's owner. Imagine

that a Magickian owns a silicon amulet of great power. Another
Magickian wishes to acquire the silicon amulet but believes the

cost is unfair and is not willing to pay the cost -- how should


the amulet owner respond to this implied insult?

This situation reminds me of the maxim 'An accountant


knows the cost of every thing but the value of no thing'. The
Magickian wishing to acquire the amulet respects the amulet's
fair value but considers the cost unfair. I believe that
proper tradition dictates no negotiations -- the amulet's
owner either should walk away without argument and without
subsequently employing proxies as intermediary agents, or the

amulet's owner should present the silicon amulet as a no-cost


gift. Presenting the silicon amulet as a no-cost gift honors
the amulet (increasing the amulet's magickal power) and honors

both the amulet's owner and the amulet's recipient.
***I believe that honor (and reputation) are powerful magick***.
I also believe that arguments, repeated hints and/or proxy
intermediaries accumulate into a dishonorable ending.

I believe this example is consistent with Islamic practice.


The harsh desert environment requires good faith relationships.
In the harsh desert environment, contentious behaviour is *not*
worthwhile and is not repeated -- analogous to not negotiating
with a merchant who has treated you unfairly in the past.

I) *Warlock* is a term that many interpret differently. To


the general population 'warlock' refers to a (usually male)
Magick-using warrior. Witch wars are _discouraged_ in Craft and
Wiccan Covens, however, and 'warlock' usually denotes someone
who has been ostracized from a Coven or a group of cooperating
Covens for disobedience to Coven Tradition or to the Coven High
Priest/ess's authority. [In some cases a Coven High Priest/ess

pairs Coven members (and their children) during sabbats.] The


ostracism that a warlock encounters includes social shunning,
denial of _any_ assistance from Coven members, and so-called

chaotic attacks (e.g., floods of annoyances, insults and small

injuries). The ostracism's goal is to force the warlock to


_vacate_ the locale where his/her former Coven worships,

preferably moving to another city or state. (In the Midwest
city where I grew up people talked about 'running somebody out
of town on a rail'.) I believe this ostracism occurs most
often in the case of a Pagan man who divorces or deserts his
partner, particularly if the partners have children. But the
ostracism also occurs in divorcing households that do not

include children, and in my locale non-Pagan divorcing men
also experience this ostracism.

Pagans sometimes refer to non-Pagans as 'cowans'. The
term cowan is derived primarily from Freemasonry: 'cowans'
were non-Masonic stoneworkers who either produced inferior
work and thus were not eligible to join or worked only in
drystone (without mortar), which apparently didn't count.
[Interestingly, drystone work can be *very* difficult because
individual stones are independently fitted and laid. Mortar
can act as glue and a filler to patch weaknesses in mortared
stone construction.]

As I stated previously, I believe that some Wiccans use


'The Universal Rule of Three' to justify 'vigilante lessons'

against both Wiccans and non-Wiccans, including ostracizing
non-Wiccan divorcing men regardless of whether the divorcing
household includes children. I find this ethically troubling.
Non-Pagans are *not* Wiccan Coven or Pagan Family members.
Non-Pagans took no binding oaths -- they are *not* oath breakers.
In effect, non-Pagans 'did not sign the contract', but they
are being punished for breaking oaths that they never accepted.
IMO a Lot can happen as a result of this unethical treatment.

Texts and films are one source of quality Wiccan information,


and these references do not contain oathbound secrets. I will
provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent messages entitled "A Reference List for Prospective

Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)".

Some people question the appropriateness of my providing _any_
comments concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I
believe that detachment is valuable -- _not_ having vested interests
can bring objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my
information can be ignored with little effort***. I do _not_ tell
people how to worship or practice magick in their circles or in
their own homes. And a list of Wicca-related definitions based
upon my studying Wiccan-, Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts
and participating in Wiccan-, craft- and Pagan-related Internet
newsgroups threatens no one.

Ultimately, each reader must judge individually.

*****End of Part Two*****

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.
The comments contained herein are my opinions.

I got no problems


20:51:00
20:52:00
'Life in the trailer park'
is a *long* sentence

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ


--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 14, 2003, 3:30:56 PM7/14/03
to
I received a large number of substantive comments on this
document. Rather than waiting until 21 days before the
Mabon sabbat to issue a version containing the revisions, I
am reissueing the Lammas version in its entirety. Additions
and revisions are marked with a <*> marker.

*****Beginning of document*****


Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.

Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

Part Two is contained in a subsequent message titled "Definitions

For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Two of Two Parts)". I


provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent messages entitled "A Reference List for Prospective
Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)".

August first Midnight Stonehenge time (July 31st 7:00 PM CDT


in my locale) is the sabbat Lammas [an Anglo-Saxon word meaning
loaf-mass (bread) and the most commonly-used name for this sabbat].
In old Irish a variant Lunasa means 'August'. Lammas also is known
as Lughnasadh (Loo-nahs-ah), First Harvest, and the Sabbat of the
First Fruits. Lammas honors the Sun God Lugh (Loo) and his queen
Dana, but Lammas principally is a grain festival. In ancient
Phoenicia this festival honored the grain god Dagon, and a
significant portion of the harvest was sacrificed to him.
Similarly, Native Americans celebrate early August as a grain
festival and call it the Festival of the Maize. Corn, wheat,
barley, and other Northern Hemisphere grains are ready for
harvesting by early August. Lammas is the first of the three
harvest sabbats and a celebration of the Earth's fertility. Corn,
wheat, potatoes and other crops harvested around Lammas are
considered fertility plants and can be employed within Lammas
rituals.

In Romania's Transylvanian Alps (high in the Carpathian Mountains

Some basic definitions:

IMO the Wiccan greeting 'Blessed be' is a mixed blessing.


'Blessed be' can denote the benign wish "May your attempts at
pregnancy be successful." 'Blessed be(e)' also can denote the
pin used to poke holes in a condom to facilitate pregnancy and
subsequent forced marriage, an act that *either* partner can
initiate. (I discuss other 'blessed be' interpretations in

the 'Definitions Part Two' message.)

There are many valid Wiccan paths -- Gardnerian Wicca was the

Interestingly, while age 18 is the legal 'age of sexual consent'

<*> I recommend that prospective Wiccan novices considering joining


a Wiccan Coven _learn in detail_ that Coven's Wiccan Rede
interpretation. Some Coven _Books of Shadows_ contain
oath-bound material known only to Coven members, but a Coven's
Wiccan Rede interpretation should be _freely discussable_.
Prospective Wiccan novices are _not_ yet Coven members. [In
some Covens, apprentices do not become Coven members until after
a year-and-a-day apprenticeship, personal acceptance, and Coven
(a-hem) initiation]. Prospective Wiccan novices might be affected
adversely by a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation. ***I believe
that potential apprentices MUST know if the Wiccan Rede protects
them during their apprenticeship, MUST know if they are free
to terminate their apprenticeship and not join the Coven, and MUST
know the responsibilities and penalties on them (and their family)
if they terminate their Wiccan apprenticeship.*** If this
information is _not_ freely available, I recommend that a person

_not_ make a Wiccan Coven commitment.

<*> IMO people choosing to become Wiccans are best served by combining
solitary worship with *Circle* membership. (A Circle is a social
group that meets to discuss Craft-related issues but that does *not*
include the oath-bound information or the binding oaths of obedience
included in Wiccan Coven initiations.) Wiccan solitary worshippers
joining Circles do not sacrifice their personal autonomy through oaths
of obedience to a Coven High Priest/ess, and Circle membership offers
most of the social and discussion advantages of Coven membership.

<*> ***I can not overstress this issue.*** A Coven's High Priest/ess
has the right to squelch 'improper discussion'. As individuals grow
(and as different people assume the High Priest/ess's office),
keeping oathbound obedience to the Coven High Priest/ess's authority
might pose difficult and unanticipated problems. Liberal Coven
members might chafe under a conservative High Priest/ess's authority.
Conservative Coven members might chafe under a liberal
High Priest/ess's authority. Wo/men Coven members might chafe
under a particularly strong and chauvinistic High Priest/ess's
authority. And many Coven oaths include penalties for leaving
Coven membership.

<*> In some Wiccan Traditions, the High Priest/ess designates couples
for each sabbat celebration (possibly including the coupling of
Wiccan parents' children). IMO this social whirl does not reinforce
romantic love or stable (biological) family relationships. Teaching
is teaching, but IMO this sabbat-related social whirl is wasteful.
Partners invest their time and energy in each other, but repeatedly
switching partners at each sabbat destroys earlier investments.

<*> And where is it written that a High Priest/ess's authority is
limited to Coven-specific matters? ***Where is it written that the
High Priest/ess can not intervene in Coven members' mundane concerns
such as housing and use of spare/guest bedrooms?***

F) *Witch* is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret


the term 'witch' as women and men who use Magick in a goal-
oriented manner _not_ constrained by morality or ethics. Witches
are _not_ bound to work in groups or to have common purpose. I
do _not_ consider witchcraft a religion, I do _not_ equate
witchcraft and Wicca, and I know _no requirement_ for an
initiation into witchcraft -- witches can be solitary practitioners.

Apparently Christian governments tested and tried accused witches
as 'brides of satan' during 'The Burning Times'. [Ref: "Haxan:
Witchcraft Through The Ages", 1929 silent film directed by Benjamin
Christensen and narrated by William Burroughs (author of "The
Naked Lunch"). "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"
by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason is a textual reference
to 'The Burning Times'.]

*****End of Part One*****

<*> The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited by Amazon.com, any author, any artist, or their
agent(s), publisher(s), producer(s) or distributor(s).

<*> I am *not* an Islamic scholar.

<*> I am *not* legally qualified to provide medical, psychological,
legal, financial or religious opinions, but I have discussed some
issues with my Attorney and have read extensively in these areas.
I have strong opinions.

I got no problems
20:05:15