Tag Archives: witch

(PBP) The Letter C: Craft Name

**This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project. Weeks 5 and 6 are the letter C. For more about PBP, check out their website here.**

I haven’t really written about craft names much here on the blog.  Most likely because I don’t use one.  “Sita” isn’t a craft name, it’s a pseudonym I use specifically for writing on this blog.  I never chose a craft name because I never felt like I needed one.

Craft names can come from a wide array of places.  Names inspired by the natural world are pretty common.  Animals, birds, plants, trees, stones, etc. are probably the most common source to pull from.  The two most popular names I can think of are Raven and Willow.

Another popular source is mythology and drawing from a specific mythological tradition.  Using the name of a god or goddess is less popular but also often used.  Some of the more popular names I’ve seen are Athena, Rhiannon, Arianrhod, and Brigid.

The key to a craft name (a.k.a. magical name) is to find a name that feels right to you.  It should resonate within, maybe strike a chord in your being, that says “yes, this is who I am, this is who I am becoming.”  Sure you can choose a super cool name like Silver Athena Stormlord or something, but does that show who you are?  Does that name sound like the inner you?  Yes, it sounds cool to say, but is it the right name for you, or are you caught up in the flashiness?  I think some people do get caught up in the flash of craft names and don’t choose the right name for themselves, and then there are other times where someone has a flashy name and it really is right for them.  Sometimes it’s hard to say which is which.

If it feels like the right name, then go with it.  Chances are, it’s right for you.

Often I’m told that a craft name will find you.  You don’t find it.  The right name reveals itself to you.  I don’t know how true that is, seeing as I don’t have a craft name.  But for the past two or three years, I’ve been feeling a strong pull to a certain name, and it’s not one I would have chosen for myself had I sat down and tried to come up with a name for me.  But this word just pulls at me and envelops me in warmth, and makes me feel more complete–so I have a feeling that a craft name has found me after all.

Another concern with names is the energy behind the name.  A name, a word, has power.  When you speak the name, you are calling on the energy of that word.  “Willow” calls on the qualities of the willow tree and brings those qualities closer to the person who bears that name.  “Raven” can call in the qualities of the raven and the qualities of Raven, the deity.  Both are tricky and cunning.  When using a craft name, it’s my opinion that you should also look at the qualities of that name and what kind of energy you would be calling in when you use it.  For example, I see people name their pets Loki or Hecate because they think the name is cute for the animal, and then they wonder why little Loki or little Hecate are such a handful.  It’s because the name calls on the energy of the name, just as our daily/mundane names have energy.  The difference between our birth names and a craft name is that the craft name is chosen by you and may feel more like your real name than your birth name does.

Craft names can be useful, but they aren’t a requirement for a spiritual or magickal path, at least not until you get into the higher levels of a coven or other similar type of group that uses craft names.  Then a craft name may become necessary, for a variety of reasons.

Craft names, like pseudonyms, can also be used as a barrier between the mundane world and the magickal world, and can provide a measure of protection.



Happy Mabon!

Happy Mabon everyone!

What did you do to celebrate?

I spent my doing doing some fall cleaning in the apartment.  Spring is usually the best time for such activity, but it can really be done at any time of year if you have the right frame of mind.  I cleaned up my new place and put things in order and gave thanks for all I have.  At the Witch’s Thanksgiving that is Mabon, it’s appropriate to give thanks for the material and spiritual accomplishments of the year thus far.  And today, I was reminded of all that I have, but also of all that I no longer need–which is also something to be thankful for as it clears away the flotsam and jetsam weighing me down.

Image of Autumn from blackmorgan.tumblr

Image taken from solacewishes.tumblr

So how was your Mabon?

Guest Post: Margarita–A Witch of Russian Descent

Guest post by Anna from Witchcraft and more

I have a special place in my heart for this book. Its incredible author, M. A. Bulgakov, created a genius novel, which has been of interest to many researchers for over sixty years. The Master and Margarita was introduced to me by my mum long before I studied it at school. The novel seemed strange to me because I didn’t understand it completely and couldn’t give value to its language and plot.

Later, when I read the novel with the full awareness of its contents, I started enjoying it much more, liking certain chapters and details. Then I realized that I fell in love with it forever. No wonder The Master and Margarita became one of the subjects of my final diploma project at university. This is when I started exploring the novel from a scientific point of view, discovering more and more beauty in it and getting to know new things about the world of the novel created by Bulgakov.

An illustration for the novel "The Master and Margarita"

An illustration for the novel “The Master and Margarita”

The topic I am raising today is quite broad, but interesting, and directly related to the idea of my blog, Witchcraft and more. I am going to make few posts telling the story of Margarita – a witch of Russian descent.

Margarita is the most famous witch of Russian, and perhaps world, literature. There are numerous books written about her character and I in turn would like to concentrate on her witchy side.

As soon as it is a novel I am talking about, there is a great love story in it and Margarita is a part of it. She is pictured as an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with a husband she doesn’t love. The routine life makes her to search for the wonder of love. And she finds it . . . or it finds her?

Margarita means “pearl” (derived from a Greek word margarites). The pearl is a talisman of arts, inspiration, and spiritual perfection, and also is used in witchcraft.  Margarita is a symbol of Master’s renewed belief in creation; this is she, who saves few pages of Master’s novel he intends to burn. She is also a symbol of sacrifices done in the name of love.

I used to tell in the first posts, that a witch plays a dual role in humans’ life: good and bad. Witchcraft helps people get what they want. Margarita decides to become a witch and makes a deal with the Devil in order to find her lover, Master, who is missing.

Though it seems that Margarita is chosen by Woland (the Devil in Bulgakov’s novel) randomly, it is not so. She was always meant to be someone else. Margarita has a squinting eye which is considered to be a mark of dark power, she has black hair, and she wears preferably black attire – a color associated with witchcraft; she has prophetic dreams and is very sensitive toward the meaning of the signs around her. Her intuition tells her  that something is going to happen.

Bulgakov describes how Margarita turns into a witch. But why turns? Because her very appearance changes when she applies a cream given by one of the servants of Woland, Azazello, on her face and body. She becomes twenty years old instead of thirty, her eyes turn greener and she feels like . . . laughing! She gains strength and happiness she never knew before. Here we see one of the attributes of a witch: a magical ointment. Moreover, Margarita’s initiation into a witch happens during the full moon when most of the important magical rituals are done to strengthen their result.

Margarita in modern art

Margarita in modern art

Our Russian witch is now ready to act; she is waiting for a signal to move out of her boring house. After a call Azazello gives her, she hears a strange knocking behind the door of her room. When she opens it, a floor broom comes out jumping and eager to fly away through the window. So here comes a necessary tool of a witch, a broomstick, though a bit modified. Margarita, naked, then heads to Sabbath (rus. Shabash). This once again refers to a common practice of witchcraft – gathering under the full moon to do magic, dance, and celebrate.

I have tried to explore features and attributes of a “typical” witch Margarita is bestowed by Bulgakov. Among them are magical tools like the broomstick and ointment, a ritual of initiation during a full moon, and features of Margarita which make her look like a witch before and after initiation. As soon as Margarita feels free after obtaining certain powers and seeks hope in virtue of witchcraft to find her Master, the theme of witchcraft in Bulgakov’s novel is not blamed but given a rather positive attitude.

Margarita as a witch continues her journey through many more difficulties of which I am going to tell in the next post.

Anna icon

“Rule” is a Misnomer, and Other Things

I find myself on Tumblr quite a bit these days, and often I browse the Paganism tags.  In those tags, I find a number of misconceptions, half-truths, and misunderstandings of what Wicca is and who can be Wiccan.  I know, I shouldn’t really be surprised–it’s the Internet, after all.  What follows is a brief list of some items I frequently see, followed by responses.

  1. “An it harm none” is the only rule of Wicca.
  2. You can’t be a solitary Wiccan/Witch.
  3. It takes a Witch to make a Witch.
  4. You must practice skyclad or you’re not a true Wiccan.
  5. “Wiccae” is a proper form today for the plural/adjective of “Wicca.”

Number 1: “An it harm none, do what thou wilt” isn’t really a rule, nor is it the only one.  If you’re in a coven, you have rules on how to behave and interact with other coven members and with non-coven members of the Craft.  You have rules for secrecy and what you are allowed to share.  Even when not in a coven, there are other “rules” beyond Harm None that affect your interactions, such as karma and the Threefold Rule.  However, while we call these things rules, they really aren’t.  They are guidelines.  Any rule can be broken, whether mundane or magickal.  The kicker is whether you are willing to accept the consequences of your actions.  Harm None is also only a guideline in that it is impossible to harm no one–even by locking yourself away to avoid harming others, you are harming yourself.  So this “rule” isn’t really a rule.  It’s a guideline.

Number Two: You can’t be a solitary Wiccan/Witch.  I call complete bull on this one.  You can be a solitary Wiccan/Witch.  I was a solitary for ten years.  It is entirely possible to be a solitary Wiccan or a solitary Witch.  Some people progress just fine on their own.  Some start off in a coven or other group and become solitary.  Others are like me, who start solitary and then find a group.  I think this idea comes from the next idea in Number Three.

Number Three: It takes a Witch to make a Witch.  This one tends to vary depending on tradition.  In the tradition I’m part of, it’s true.  It’s a part of the lineage.  “Witch” is a serious title to be earned and worked toward, not something to be bandied about.  That being said, when I was a solitary, I did call myself a Witch.  The difference was, I didn’t have the training to back up the title I used.  I think that’s really what this idea comes from–having the training to back up the claim.  I believe that in some ways, this notion is used to underscore the importance of training and initiation for certain aspects of Wicca.  However, there will be those out there who use this notion as a power-play, but those people don’t strike me as being particularly healthy people to be around anyway.  I guess my conclusion on this one is: 1) it depends on the tradition being discussed, and 2) you can call yourself whatever you want, but consider if you can back it up.  “Witch” connotes a certain level of discipline, control, and power.  Can you back it up?  Do you care?

Number Four: You do not have to practice in the nude (aka skyclad) to be a “true” Wiccan.  Wicca is an experiential religion.  If your experience is that you are uncomfortable being naked during a ritual, or in front of a group of people, then you don’t have to be nude to have a successful ritual.  I believe this comes from the idea that you should approach the Goddess and God in the form you were given–the naked body–and be natural.  However, it is more important that you are comfortable and confident.  If that means you’re clothed, then so be it.  Nudity is a practice for some covens and traditions, but it is not something that should be forced on anyone, especially if they are uncomfortable with it.  There is also no “true” Wiccan or any one way to be Wiccan, so let’s just throw that notion completely out the window, shall we?

Number Five: I have absolutely no idea where people got the idea that “Wiccae” is a word.  Just because something was proper hundreds of years ago does not make it the proper form to use today.  Old English was proper hundreds of years ago,  but unless you’re in an Old English play, no one would consider using that kind of language now.  The proper forms in use today are “Wicca” and “Wiccan”–the noun and the adjective/noun forms.  The noun form (Wicca) does not have a plural.  The adjective/noun (Wiccan) form does.  “Wiccae” is not a word.  I understand how the form of the word was concocted to follow Latinized plurality forms, but it’s still incorrect in both descriptive grammar and prescriptive grammar.

Book: ‘University Witch: A Witch’s Guide to Surviving Higher Education’

This is a first for AWL.  Instead of doing a review, I’m helping a friend promote her book.

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know I do guest posts from time to time, when I can find someone interested in writing something.  Soull, from University Witch, has been a wonderful guest writer on the blog for a while now.

Guess what!  She’s written a book!  University Witch: A Witch’s Guide to Surviving Higher Education was just made available on Amazon yesterday in ebook form for the Kindle.  It may become available for the Nook later on, but not just yet.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I will be reading it this weekend and posting a review next week.  However, I have skimmed through it a bit, and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks to be pretty good.  Here’s a summary:

High school and college are already tough, and for a witch, its even harder. Throwing a bag of stuff together before school starts? Not sure how to tell a potential roommate that you’re into the craft? Curse under your breath that “open flames” aren’t allowed on campus?
University Witch is a guide book for the modern day magick practitioner! For the beginning of college and beyond, this guide is jam-packed with knowledge on tackling higher education, as well as sprinkled with humor to lighten your load! This is a great read for both parents of students as well as young witches alike! This book covers topics such as self-image, alternative magick items fit for college, a collection of easy-to-do spells for any college-kid budget, and even a cheat sheet for significant colors, days of the week, and more! Just be sure not to fail the humorous final exam at the end!

Find it on Amazon here.  If you read it, come back and tell me (and her) what you think!