Thursday, March 26, 2015

Witchcraft Today

On Tuesday 24th March, Ann Williams gave a talk on Pagan Witchcraft at our coffee morning.

She started by dispelling some of the myths and went on to frame the subject in the context of European history specifically noting the relationship with ‘magic’, or alchemy as it was known then, and one of its practitioners known as Sir Isaac Newton. She noted the rise of paganism and witchcraft in the 2011 census discussing the dualism of extremes in the modern western world: dogmatic religion and scientific materialism. And how this dualism leaves no room for instinct, intuition or ‘gut feelings’, formerly called ‘visions’. She brings in Carl Jung’s notion of the ‘collective unconscious’ and how for both pagans and witches everything has a soul, often known to environmentalists as Gaia.

It seemed to me to be about reconnecting with our roots, our history and ancestors (the ghosts of Halloween are our ancestors) but above all with nature. Understanding that we human beings are an integral part of the whole and not separate from it. So it is no surprise to me that Ann is a member of Friends of the Earth, the Green Party and Transition Town Redbridge.

She speaks about the cycles of time and how they are important to us and everything else: the time of day not by a clock but by the angle of the sun, the date not by a calendar but by the phase of the moon, the month by the natural cycles of growth, abundance and decay.

Ann concludes with her own practices, her three altars, the goddesses, and of course spells, which are basically just recipes of everyday things you might find in a kitchen: herbalism.

The full text of Ann’s talk is here. A highly recommended read.

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