Also included here are:
- A general introduction to witchcraft, sabbats, Halloween, and the key tools and concepts of spellcasting
- Candle, garden, animal, and self-defense magic
- Spells for love, money, fertility, and health
- A chapter on writing your own spells
This is a practical introductory guide for everyone. Love life gone limp? Reinvigorate your relationship with a seductive spell. Boss too demanding? Use a little magic to help her reconnect with her softer side. Lost your precious pet? Bring him back home with a heartfelt incantation.
With the wealth of Wiccan wisdom in these pages, you can choose a spell to improve any aspect of your life, from career and money to health and family well-being. Upbeat and up to date, this volume brings witchcraft into the 21st century with a modern magic focused on gaining control over your life and understanding your destiny.
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|Publisher:||Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A First Course in Magic
By Leanna Greenaway
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2017 Leanna Greenaway
All rights reserved.
For centuries, people have considered that spellcasting has something disturbing or sinister attached or to it. When one considers fairy tales that date back over the years, the witch is observed as a wart- ridden old woman, wearing a crooked black hat, with a cat or familiar by her side and a big bubbling cauldron before her. It is only now, in the 21st century, that society is starting to see that witchcraft was (and still is) just another religion or way of life. The Harry Potter mania has opened up many people's minds to Wicca, and, although some still consider it a sinful practice, many are keen to explore this interesting, gratifying, and rewarding faith.
It is not easy to give an accurate date for the origins of Paganism, but it is certainly known to be pre- Christian. It is amusing to consider, when we come up against the sceptics of society, that each and every one of us has practiced witchcraft or Pagan rituals at some time in our lives. Shocked? Well it's true. We have all been introduced to superstition at some stage of our lives, and many of the "old wives' tales" from years gone by emanated from the ancient Pagans. The following are a number of well-known examples.
Present-Day Rituals That Have Pagan Roots
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
The child can expect a gathering of people at his birthday party, a cake, and a number of colored candles, and he is encouraged to make a wish while blowing out the candles. This is one of the oldest known Pagan traditions and is said in many modern manuals to be the first form of candle magic that a child practices. Later in this book, we will cover the subject of candle rituals at length.
The traditional wedding ceremony is another ancient Pagan or Wiccan custom. In a Pagan ceremony — or as it is more commonly known, a "Handfasting" — the bride and groom initially tie the knot for only a year and a day. The expression "to tie the knot" comes from the ritual that is performed by the couple, during which they would tie and knot a rope around their hands, symbolically binding the two lovers. The period that the couple spends together settles whether or not they are compatible. If, after the year and a day, they remain in love, they then go on to hold another ceremony, this time making a permanent commitment to each other. This custom has become the engagement or betrothal that precedes a wedding.
A High Priest or a High Priestess performed the ceremony, usually outdoors or in a specified place of worship, such as a church. Three hundred years ago, Pagans and Christians had no option but to share their churches, so it was widely acceptable for Pagans to marry in church.
Gold rings were exchanged during a wedding, and these symbolized the goddess, the wheel of the year, and the circle of life. The ring was then placed on the third finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein ran directly from this finger to the heart. The wearing of the rings was a sign to everyone that the couple was bound together by the unity of Handfasting. This has carried over into modern practice in Christian weddings and, as we know, in the Christian faith the couple exchange rings while they make their vows.
THE ALTAR AND THE CANDLES
Most Christian churches conduct the majority of their ceremonies at the altar. In the Pagan faith, two candles (usually white) were placed on the altar and represented the male and the female. As the candles burnt down, the spirit of the flame was said to represent the spirit of the couple, and this traveled upward in the direction of the universe to be accepted by the goddess herself.
For centuries, Christians have worshiped their God by reciting prayers over a lighted candle at weddings, baptisms, and so forth, but the Pagans also deliver their invocations over candles while worshipping their gods and goddesses.
THE RICE AND THE CAKE
Once the wedding ceremony is complete, it is customary to throw rice or confetti over the happy couple. In Pagan and Wiccan weddings, the idea was to tap into the spirit of the fertile grain or seeds so that the couple could absorb it, thus ensuring that they would have a good and prosperous harvest and never starve. In ancient times, biscuits were crumbled over the heads of the couple to ensure the bride's fertility. It must have been somewhat irritating for the bride on her wedding day, having groomed herself to a high standard, then to be showered with handfuls of crumbled biscuits!
Thankfully, however, throughout the course of time, this ancient tradition has changed. In days gone by, it was fashionable for the bride and groom to slice a fruitcake, both holding the knife together and showing their love by kissing over the top of it. This was supposed to guarantee that together they would bear many children. By sharing the cake with their guests, they were indirectly sharing the magical energy of their love and passing it on to everyone present.
A buckled leather garter was a mark of the witch bride's rank. The number of buckles on the garter represented the number of covens that had originated from the witch bride's, and this established her status in society. These garters were often handed down within families, passing from mother to daughter to granddaughter. This tradition has been lost over time, and now very few people actually know the true meaning of the garter; it has become just a slightly saucy part of the wedding outfit.
When we research and study a Pagan faith, it becomes clear that many similarities are shared between the Christians and the Pagans. It saddens those who believe in Pagan traditions to realize that, even after all these years, witchcraft is still considered to be a taboo subject. Religion has contributed to numerous wars throughout history.
We must try to remember that a religion or way of life has to be personal to the individual. No one has the right to insist that any person should follow a faith that is not true to them. I am a great believer in the old saying, "If it feels right, then believe it. If it doesn't, then don't!" We are all aware that every religion carries good and bad issues. Some folk profess to be Christian while going out of their way to hinder or damage others. Some Pagans curse or cause the destruction of others.
There are good and bad people the world over. Prejudice comes from refusing to give an individual the freedom to express him- or herself in the way he or she would wish, and also by refusing to research or understand a faith before assuming the worst. I hasten to add that the majority of Wiccans are peace-loving people who perform rituals only for the good of others. They believe in the healing powers of nature, and they worship our planet with great passion. So let us allow every man to follow his true path and hinder no one!CHAPTER 2
How I Became a Witch
Many people ask me how I became a witch, and I have come to the conclusion that a witch isn't something you become or decide to be; rather, it is something that is deep-seated and inbred from an early age. When I was a child, some kind of inner knowledge triggered me to follow the path of Wicca. Indeed, I started to meditate from about six years of age. Although my mother was a white witch herself, I was far too young to understand, and she hadn't even started to teach me the Wiccan ways at that time, because she herself was waiting for me to follow my chosen path in life.
Being the sort of person she is, when I asked if I could attend Sunday school, she happily arranged for me to go. I'm sure that if I had decided to become a minister of the church, she would have supported me in any way she could. At this young age, no one pushed me into joining the Pagan faith; I just instinctively knew it was a part of me.
As I got older and reached my teenage years, I asked my mother many questions. She answered them honestly, always adding that just because she believed in the Wiccan practices, it didn't mean I had to follow suit. She always tried to leave me with an open mind, preferring not to influence me. I became intrigued when I saw her perform Tarot readings for others — although she kept her spellcasting private. It wasn't long before I figured out that the things she was doing in her everyday life were just what I wanted to do in mine!
Soon thereafter, I gave my dear mother the nickname "Mamma Witch," and much to her annoyance, the name has stuck to this day. Although she raises an eyebrow at me every now and then, she accepts the title gracefully, and I have even received the odd birthday card signed "Mamma Witch."
As a young person, I was superstitious and ritualistic. I truly believed that if I said things over and over again, they would eventually come true — and occasionally they did! Again, this was something that had never been introduced to me. Only now, after years of researching more into the Pagan ways, have I realized that I had been performing rituals for the best part of my life without having been shown how.
Mamma came from a family that believed in magic. Her grandmother and great grandmother were practicing clairvoyants, so she inherited their gifts and wisdom, which she passed on to me. I was around thirteen when Mamma began to share her secrets with me, and I would report back to her after my regular practice sessions of meditation. She then started to teach me a few very simple spells. Being a typical teenager, I found this frustrating, because I wanted to jump across the planet, climb the highest mountain, and plunge into casting the most powerful spells known without taking the time needed for the preliminaries. Oh, I had a lot to learn — and in this book, you will read about some of my mishaps.
However, it is only when I look back that I see how much I owe to my poor mamma, quietly going about her faith without any problem, who suddenly found herself faced with a young, sprightly, up and coming little witch who was urgently demanding her knowledge and "borrowing" her spell books!
Do You Have the Potential?
If you have an inclination toward witchcraft in this lifetime, it is probable that you were a witch in a past life. I have taught spell-craft for many years, and occasionally one of my students will tell me that they don't feel as though they are learning something that is really new to them, but they are simply being reminded of things that they already knew. In some cases, students were unconsciously using some of the techniques in their daily life, and this came up in the exercises that they were given as part of their course work.
If you are reading this book, it is likely that you have used witchcraft in a previous life. Witchcraft is within us, it is part of us, and if it prompts us to let it out, we should follow our hearts.CHAPTER 3
Some Background — and Foreground
Some call Wicca a religion, but as such, it is an unusual one, and there are many opinions as to the origin of the words "Wicca" and "witch." Some historians say that the word "Wicca" is a contraction of the Old Saxon word "Witega," which meant a prophet or sorcerer. It has also been taken to mean "wise person," in the sense of someone who knew how to use plants as medicines for humans and for animals in the days before the development of modern medicine and veterinary practices.
It is said that witchcraft and Wicca developed out of the ancient Druidic mother goddess religion. Wicca doesn't have rules and regulations of the kind that we associate with standard religions, but there are practices that over a period of time have become traditional. Basically, Wicca is personal to many of those who follow it. In every country, there are solitary witches who use individual practices but also many who learn and develop their skills with help from fellow witches.
One common belief is encapsulated in the following Wiccan rede (saying): it was apparently first stated by Doreen Valiente in 1964, as the couplet: "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill / An [if] it harm none, do what ye will."
The word "witchcraft" is most likely derived from the practice of the old English Wicca craft, meaning "the way of the wise" or "wise-craft." The word "Wicca" also has a modern meaning derived from the words candle and candlewick. From the beginning, witches have always worshipped nature and placed great importance on their surroundings. Witches are environmentally friendly, due to the fact that they strive to preserve our planet, and they also take great care not to harm others. Witches believe in the "god" and the "goddess" being the true life forces. They consider "Mother Nature" to be paramount.
Paganism covers a broad range of religions, generally polytheistic. In plain English, this means a belief in more than one god. I have also seen Paganism described as including a pantheistic religion, meaning one in which trees, mountains, rivers, and other natural phenomena are considered to be sacred.
Neither witchcraft nor Paganism have anything to do with devil worship, but despite this, there are people who believe that all Pagans and witches practice such things. The Christians may have believed that the devil exists, but whether this is true or not, the devil is not linked to Paganism — so why does society insist on continuing to believe this myth? Although witchcraft is becoming more acceptable throughout the world, this nonexistent connection to the devil still leaves some people feeling uncomfortable.
During the time of the persecutions, it was known that the Pagans worshipped the goat. This belief was part of their faith. Pan, the Horned God, was nothing more than an icon of reverence. When Christians set out to convert others to their religion, they denounced every practicing Pagan as a devil worshipper, turning their much-respected Horned God into the devil. Contrary to belief, few witches practice witchcraft for the purposes of greed or to work on a lower vibration. The majority of witches have only the good of others in mind, and they work hard to create a sense of balance and well-being among their fellow men.
The public antipathy toward witchcraft means that witches, who regularly worship their gods, do so in a solitary fashion. Many people these days actually take an interest in these old traditions without even realizing it, just as they also look into such things as homeopathy, acupuncture, and reflexology. For instance, the green issue has meant that many of us are starting to worry about our planet, and we are becoming aware that soon it may be too late to save it. Most people read a horoscope in newspapers and magazines, and this has encouraged an interest in the Tarot and the nature of the earth's energies.
At some point in life, many people have been intrigued by the word "witchcraft." While some have the thirst for this knowledge, others fear it because they are not yet ready to open their minds or to understand its true meaning. If you are inclined toward a Pagan lifestyle, sooner or later you will encounter people who consider you are dabbling with hocus-pocus or some form of evil, but this naïve notion is wrong. If you are interested in Paganism, it is probably best not to mention this to those who don't understand. Paganism may be one of the oldest religions on earth, but it is now growing in popularity once again.
Few people broadcast the fact that they are witches, but witches can be found practicing their rituals everywhere and in every town and country of the world. Due to the unfortunate stigma attached to Wicca, many of them practice their craft covertly. Some even keep their beliefs from members of their families, so as to prevent ignorance and prejudice from casting a black cloud over their relationships.
Witches in ancient times relied wholly on the fruits of the land to survive. Therefore, they would study moon patterns and seasons, worshipping the fertility of the soil and thanking Mother Nature with prayer. These people were totally in tune with their earth; they only killed animals for food, and they grew their own vegetables, using the properties in plants for medicines and oils. They believed that the preservation of the earth was of the greatest importance. Many studied the skies regularly to know when to plant their crops. These individuals were decent and hard working, and they lived in harmony with their neighbors. They worked in communities and went about their business without conflict or struggle.
At one time, the Pagans outnumbered Christians; they lived side by side in their surroundings and tolerated the others' religion. They may have even shared their churches, many having different entrances and separate altars. The Pagan altar was said to face either the west or the north, the Christians followed the Jewish tradition of facing toward Jerusalem.
As time passed, Christians began to outnumber others, and they wanted to reign supreme, but to their to their consternation, the Pagans believed devoutly in their faith, and they resisted conversion. The Christians, at various times, believed that there was no room for any other religion than their own, so they began a reign of terror. For this reason, many Pagans did convert out of fear that a fanatic would kill them and harm their families.
Excerpted from Practical SpellCraft by Leanna Greenaway. Copyright © 2017 Leanna Greenaway. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
2. How I Became a Witch,
3. Some Background—and Foreground,
4. The Sabbats and Halloween,
5. Tools and Concepts,
6. The Moon and Magic,
7. The Right Time,
8. Good Vibrations,
9. Candle Magic,
11. Garden Magic,
12. Amulets, Talismans, and Other Magical Methods,
13. Preparing Yourself for Spellcasting,
14. Spells for Money, Business, and Your Career,
15. Love Spells,
16. Spells for Fertility and Children,
17. Animal Magic,
18. Spells for Health,
19. An Assortment of Useful Spells,