- Lunar magic
- Herbs and gardens
- Pendulum power
- Animal magic
Eminently practical, Wicca, Plain & Simple also includes over 25 spells for beginning practitioners that range from fertility spells and money spells, to love spells and much more.
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About the Author
Judika Illes fell in love with the magical arts as a child and has been studying them ever since. She is the author of numerous books about traditional spirituality, witchcraft, and the occult including The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, and Magic When You Need It.
Read an Excerpt
Wicca Plain and Simple
By Leanna Greenaway
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2017 Leanna Greenaway
All rights reserved.
Witches and Magic
Magic dates back to the beginning of everything; to a time when human beings relied upon instinct and were fully in tune with the elements. Over the centuries, religions evolved throughout the world to include a belief in myth, mysteries, ritual, and the supernatural as part of their mystique.
Why did our ancestors need magic? Even today people worship Mother Nature, and many are reviving the old ways and traditions and adapting them to our modern way of life. So do we need magic today? To answer this question, we must first look at the history of humankind and how we have progressed throughout our time on this planet.
The Bronze Age blacksmith was acknowledged within his community as a priest or superior spiritual figure. To his fellow villagers, it appeared that he sat on the outskirts of his village and magically conjured blades, weapons, and stunning jewelry from stones. To a person living in the Bronze Age, this was nothing short of a miracle. We all know that we can make bronze by heating a combination of copper and tin to a very high temperature, but to the people of that time, these skills were considered to be miraculous and so, of course, the blacksmith was revered.
In the past there were "wise women" who were renowned for their skills in healing the sick; they used their knowledge of plants and herbs to cure certain ailments. Nowadays we would call them midwives, nurses, or doctors. It was only in the 16th century, when the witch hunts began, that these people and their knowledge were forced underground.
Magic and sorcery were common practices in many cultures, such as the Egyptian, Native American, and among the shamans of Central and South America. With each civilization, the method of ritual varied, but the principles were the same. Chanting and spell casting were used with the understanding that they would attract favor from the gods, who would grant good fortune.
Now, in the 21st century, we have become more advanced. Most of us are well informed and educated and live happily alongside science and technology. Today, almost everyone in the developed world has a mobile phone or smartphone and a computer. We can communicate with people in different countries with just a touch of a button, or we can climb inside a huge piece of metal and fly across the sky. We can flick a switch and drive out the night with electric lighting. Our ancestors would surely think us magicians! It is quite possible that, in a similar fashion, what seems magical to us may turn out to be quite natural in the future. Magic has always had its place in the world, and it probably always will.
The power of prayer has been recognized for many centuries; therefore, the spiritual world cannot be overlooked. I am a believer, but I am also extremely grounded. Because I've been a witch for the greater part of my life, I often use magic to change the energies around me and to bring about a more positive vibration. Ritual can also change a person's frame of mind, bringing confidence where there is none and lending a sense of proportion to difficult situations. With this in mind, magic should not be thrown out in favor of all that is mechanical or scientific just because many people don't understand it; magic brings us spiritual benefits that we should not ignore.
Karma and reincarnation are core beliefs in the Wiccan faith, and one of our tenets is "As you sow, so shall you reap." In accordance with this belief, we are careful not to incur bad karma by hurting anyone, either emotionally or physically. A modern witch will always endeavor to do the right thing and to protect and nurture everything around her, however big or small. Let's face it: Our planet is awesome and nature can be overwhelming, so much so that there has to be a greater source that has created something this beautiful and complex. I still have many unanswered questions, but as a child I was taught by my mamma that if something feels right to you in your heart, then you should believe it. If it doesn't, then you should leave it alone.
It is important always to recognize your inner truth, because it will seldom let you down. This is why witchcraft has struck a chord within me. It's about recognizing the balance and harmony of the planet and our relationship to it. Once you come to grips with that belief, you can comprehend so much more than you otherwise could about the spiritual side of life.
Another reason that I love Wicca is that there are no specific rules. Personally, I don't like rigidity and I prefer to express myself spiritually, without a rule book in my hand. I have never been one to follow and absorb old philosophies blindly, and I feel sorry for certain individuals who are too stubborn to move on and who are stuck in a rut in this life, and no doubt were in past lives, too.
Wicca is an individual faith that you can adjust and tweak to suit yourself. Of course, there are traditional teachings that you can follow if you want to, but religion has to move with the times. By virtue of your free will, you can bring your faith up to date. For instance, a few years ago I inadvertently cast a spell on top of the microwave while I was defrosting some meat. I was at one of my lazy stages in life, when I didn't have the time to set up an altar. To my surprise, the spell didn't take the usual week or so to work; the results were almost immediate. I got to thinking that maybe magic works well with electricity, and after casting several other spells on top of the microwave, I found that the theory proved to be right! I've since tried my ritual techniques on top of the television, beside the computer, and next to the radio. They all worked!
With Wicca, there is no right way or wrong way. There are no rigid commandments to follow, and you don't have to attend meetings, or go to church, or divulge all in the confessional box. You don't even have to share your beliefs with anyone else if you don't want to. You can join a gathering known as a coven, or you can be a Solitary Witch — it's a purely personal decision. Wicca is a private way of life that you can adapt and fit to any busy schedule. This flexibility is useful, because if you do decide to study the traditional methods, you can eliminate the parts you don't particularly connect with and adapt the ideas to your own way of thinking.
Let's now quash the common fear associated with the word "witchcraft."
Witchcraft stems from paganism, which is the oldest known religion. The name comes from the title "wise craft" or "the way of the wise." A more recent term is "Wicca craft" (the word "Wicca" being linked with the wick of a candle). After centuries of hype, people still shy away from the word "witch," thinking that some evil woman with a big black hat and a warty nose is out to turn them into a frog or worse! It is simply not the case. Today's witch would not hurt a fly. Sixteenth-century prejudice created the misconception that any form of magic or spell making was wicked and evil. Pagan folk, who worshiped a lovable goat-like being called Pan, were denounced as devil worshippers and banished to the hills in fear for their lives. Pan was thus corrupted to become Satan or the devil, but not by witches.
Nowadays, the freedom and better education of the modern age mean that witches from all walks of life are able to come out of the closet. The old ways have slipped back into their rightful place, and we are at last free to pray and worship in the style in which we feel comfortable. So the next time you meet someone who claims to be a witch, tip your hat and think, "Now, there's a wise woman!"
General Wiccan Belief
A person who follows the essence of Wicca respects the Earth and seeks to live in harmony with nature. Witches don't intend to harm or offend any creature or individual in our path. We just adore living things, gardens, and any form of horticulture. Growing things gladdens the heart, while the onset of a new life — such as a germinating seed — brings contentment and fulfillment.
It is known that the Moon and Sun affect the energies surrounding the Earth and that they also influence situations and the nature of humankind. People following the Wiccan way assign great importance to lunar cycles and conduct their rituals according to the current Moon phase.
We can attune ourselves and tap into our psyches to achieve results for the good of others. Wiccans like to practice healing techniques such as reiki, psychic projection, and clairvoyance. We have an interest in anything supernatural or unexplained and we lean toward alternative therapies such as hypnosis, acupuncture, and homeopathy. We also promote self-awareness through meditation and visualization. We accept the paranormal and we look into spiritual issues for solutions to problems.
For us, the Earth is a place of learning, a bit like a school. We reincarnate on Earth and live as long as our destiny permits. During this time, we must try to address and empathize with every situation we face. By a successful completion of this process, we hope to further our spiritual development. When our time has come to leave this world, we return to the astral plane, known in other faiths as Nirvana, Heaven, or Paradise. If we choose, we can reincarnate again, in the hope of fulfilling and accomplishing the things that we couldn't manage in our previous incarnation.
To us, all that is living is equal. We are no better than the insects, plants, and animals with which we coexist. However, Wiccans do appreciate and respect that there have to be certain people who establish laws and rules for our own well-being and for the good of society.
Witches don't worship or believe in Satan or the devil, as defined by the Christian tradition. We believe that the devil is a Christian concept that was used many centuries ago to intimidate and frighten people in order to convert from other faiths. Ill will toward another being is not tolerated in Wicca, nor do we desire the power to control others.
Wicca is so widespread that there is no right or wrong way to follow the faith. Certain individuals have a preference for selected areas of the craft, and these folk concentrate more on particular aspects of Wicca. For instance, you may find that one witch will be more interested in spell casting quietly at home, whereas another will follow a more traditional approach and work outdoors in a coven. Whichever sort of witch you choose to be is a personal decision for you. Below are just a few of the preferences.
The Traditional Witch
Although I speak of witches as female, both men and women can practice witchcraft, and both are referred to as witches.
The Traditional Witch believes very much in the "old ways" and will worship her relevant gods and goddesses. Her belief is conventionally pagan and she will celebrate the pagan Sabbats.
The Gardnerian Tradition
The Gardnerian tradition was founded by Gerald Gardner and promulgated in the 1950s; he brought witchcraft back into the limelight and created a tremendous amount of media interest. His main aim was to reintroduce the craft after hundreds of years of dormancy. The main spur to this openness was the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in Britain in 1951.
The Hereditary Witch
Wicca tend to run in families, so the Hereditary Witch can trace her roots back to distant relatives. She may have been taught and guided by family members.
The Hedge Witch
The Hedge Witch believes that all living things have a spirit. Just as the human being has a soul, so the animals, plants, trees, and vegetables also have their own spirits. It may sound ludicrous to some that a potato has a spirit, but the spirit is a type of vibration. It is scientific fact that all matter has its own vibration.
We know that crystals are created from the Earth's elements. Amber's origin is fossilized resin; many other stones, such as emeralds, are formed by hydrothermal veins, which are caused by hydrothermal fluids breaking away from the hot magma, deep in the Earth's crust. The Hedge Witch is extremely tuned in to the living elements and believes in the power of gemstones and crystals. Hedge Witches don't believe in Satan, but they do accept that there is a substantial amount of negativity in this world, so they strive to dispel any negative vibrations through dowsing and cleansing procedures. Like the Kitchen Witch, Hedge Witches grow most of their own produce and prepare potions for the best intent. Hedge Witches have a devout belief in reincarnation, and they believe that when people die, they are taken to the spirit world, where they are healed and are made ready to be born again.
The term "Hedge Witch" describes a person who doesn't belong to a coven or a tradition, but who works alone. She is usually self-taught. She will rarely go through a formal initiation, but she will enjoy mixing with other like-minded people. In any event, she tends to keep her findings, such as recipes, potions, and spells, to herself.
The Kitchen Witch
The Kitchen Witch is similar to the Hedge Witch in her practices. She believes in the importance of all living things, but she is a bit more hands-on in her approach. A Kitchen Witch makes most of her own personal products, such as soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers. She may even go as far as making her own candles and incense. In her view, everything has to be pure and sterile, so by creating her tools from scratch, she eliminates negative influences that can innocently be transmitted through store-bought goods. Interestingly, many candles are made in sweatshops, and the people employed are often under-paid, unhappy, bored, and maybe even mistreated, so there can be a negative energy in the candles. The Kitchen Witch would not tolerate this, as her spells and candles have to be of the very highest vibration so that she can get the best results from them.
If you see yourself as a Kitchen Witch, then you will endeavor to be eco-friendly and to grow your own herbs for spells, oils, potions, and the food that you eat.
The Solitary Witch
Solitary Witches don't belong to a coven, and they tend to keep their faith strictly secret. These witches prefer to remain anonymous. Like the Hedge and Kitchen Witches, they celebrate the seasons and the Sabbats, and they mix their own blends of potions and spells to help those around them. They don't tend to be as fanatical organically as Hedge and Kitchen Witches, but they like the outdoors and have an appreciation for scenery. Because there is far less prejudice against witches today, solitary practitioners are sometimes happy to be open about their faith, but they generally go about their business peacefully and keep to themselves. One of the lovely things about these witches is that they aren't eccentric and they keep their feet on the ground.
History has it that in ancient times, when witches were persecuted, many pagans took to the hills to worship their gods and goddesses in secret. These groups became known as covens. Nowadays, a coven consists of a group of individuals who share a common interest. Some Wiccans long to be part of a like-minded group with whom they can share spells and wisdom. Finding a coven to suit you isn't easy, as the organizers tend not to advertise them. Many people over the years have asked me how they can join a group, but I cannot give them an answer because these covens are very close-knit and anonymous. Much is learned only through word of mouth over a period of time, so an element of luck is involved in the process.
A while ago I decided to run a cyber-coven, which has become very successful. Unfortunately, with members from all over the world, setting up meetings can be tricky. In the hope of overcoming this problem, we invested in a good chat-room and message-board facility, thus enabling the members to communicate freely with one another. We can still perform rituals together online, and those who are at different stages of development can be taught and guided by the more experienced among us. Maybe this is the new way forward for all high-tech witches!
The god and goddess have always been connected to witchcraft in one way or another, and although many witches still prefer this way of practice, there is now a new vibration called Angelic Wicca. Angels are becoming more popular, and many witches, like me, prefer to work with this newfound angel energy.
Many Wiccans are gravitating to this way of thinking because the god and goddess theory is now a little out of touch. The people I speak to are more comfortable with angelic worship and find it far more personal. Just as members of other religions pray, so do witches. We all light candles and perform our rituals, but whatever your faith, angels are eagerly accepted, and no one feels threatened or intimidated at the thought of them. This is why my fellow coven witches and I have chosen to follow the Angelic Wiccan path.
Excerpted from Wicca Plain and Simple 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
Foreword Judika Illes viii
1 Witches and Magic 1
2 Wicca and Positive Thought 15
3 Tools for the Beginner Witch 19
4 Lunar Magic 29
5 Initiation 37
6 A Wiccan Garden 43
7 Animal Magic 59
8 Tarot Magic 67
9 Magnetic Magic 77
10 The Power of the Pendulum 89
11 Love Spells 95
12 Spells for Health, Wealth, and Prosperity 105
13 Spells for a Happy Family 113
14 Spells for Career and Willpower 121
Some Final Thoughts 126