INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD RELIGION
I. THE MODERN SCIENTIFIC VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE
1. Nearly three thousands years ago, the Greeks started to emigrate
eastwards towards Ionia. They settled on the islands in the Aegean
Sea and on the coastline of Asia Minor.
a. The conditions found in Ionia were difficult.
(1) Backed by inhospitable mountain ranges, they settled in
small walled towns and supported themselves with dry farming,
capable of producing only some olives and a little wine.
(a) With farming ruled out as an option for survival, the
Greeks turned towards the sea and soon found that they were
the neighbors of two very large empires, the Babylonians and
(b) Trade with these two empires seemed to be the natural
solution to their problem, but they needed to resolve some
basic questions concerning the founding of their society.
b. Both Babylonian and Egyptian cultures had developed urban
civilizations based on an abundance of arable land and plenty of
(1) Their societies were theocratic, ruled by kings with magical
(a) There had been little technological or scientific
novelty, due to the extreme regularity of their physical
environment and the rigidity of their social structures,
which were based on the need to build and maintain vast
(b) Babylonian mathematics and astronomy were restricted
subjects whose study was permitted only to the priesthood.
Egyptian geometry served exclusively to build pyramids and
measure the area of inundated land or the volume of water
(2) Both cultures developed mythical explanations for Creation.
(a) With gods being responsible for all aspects of the world,
and with minimal science and technology developed for
practical necessities, their simple cosmology was complete.
(b) Unlike the Greeks, the environment made no demands on
them which they were not able to meet. So other than figuring
out how to kill their enemies more efficiently, there was no
inducement to learn to think or to develop their science and
c. The colonial Greeks were forced by their environment to adopt a
more dynamic outlook.
(1) With no theocratic traditions to hold them back, they
rejected monarchies at an early stage.
(a) They opted, instead, for republican city- states in
which a small number of slave-owners governed by mutual
(2) Babylonian astronomy, which had aided priests to make magic
predictions, was pressed into service as an aid to maritime
(3) Contact with the Egyptians had planted the seeds of wonder
in the intellectuals who accompanied the Greek traders on their
trips around the Aegean.
(a) Rejecting the cosmologies of the Egyptians they formed
the rudiments of what was to become philosophy.
(4) Seeking explanations to the world around them, they found
ways of exploring nature in order to explain and control it.
(a) The Ionians took the geometry developed by the Egyptians
and made a tool with many applications; such as measuring the
distance from the coast to a ship at sea.
(b) Geometry became the basic instrument for measuring all
things. All natural phenomena including light and sound, as
well as those of astronomy, existed and could be measured in
exclusively geometrical space.
(c) Simple analyses of natural phenomena such as water,
beaches, clay deposits, phosphorescence, magnetism,
evaporation and condensation as well as the behavior of the
winds and the changes of temperature throughout the year led
to the discovery that nature is made up of opposites.
(5) These simple analyses of phenomena and the observation of
the presence of opposites combined with the political and
economic structure of Ionian society produced the dominant
intellectual structure which is the basis of modern western
(a) Geometry rendered the cosmos accessible to examination
according to a common standard, quantitative scale.
(b) Together with the concept of pairs of opposites, geometry
was to become the foundation for a rational system of
philosophy that would underpin Western culture for thousands
(c) Rational thought followed a new logical technique
developed by Aristotle called the syllogism, which provided
an intellectual structure for the reconciliation of opposing
(d) In this way, the Ionians before him, and Aristotle,
produced a system of thought that would guide men from the
limited observations of personal experience to more general
truths about nature.
B. The Middle Ages
1. During the latter part of the Roman empire, interest in science
as founded by the Greeks waned and practically all Greek manuscripts
went to Arabia.
a. In a way, Greek science was preserved for posterity by the
Arabs, who themselves added very little to it.
(1) They did introduce to science the so called Arabic system of
numbers, which used the zero as a place holder.
(a) To be sure, Alhazen produced a work on optics, but
generally speaking Greek science was not improved upon to any
appreciable extent by its translation into Arabic. (b)
Science was still based upon the authority of Aristotle.
2. Between 700 and 1100 AD, a beginning was made toward a revival of
learning in Europe.
a. Large universities developed under the shelter of the Church.
(1) Trade spread, and both Greek and Arabian manuscripts
gradually found their way back into Europe.
(a) The Crusades assisted in this process.
b. Since the Church had survived the Roman state and had become
all powerful, it was natural that the revival of learning should
take place under its influence.
(1) Many of the scientific manuscripts were translated from the
original Greek into Latin by monks, in monasteries where
merchants and knights bringing treasures from the east would
often seek shelter for the night.
(a) These scholars were satisfied just to make exact
translations, and so the science which they passed on to the
world through the Church was the original Aristotelian
(2) Although the church had re-established science in the
various large universities, it is important to remember that
Church domination flavoured it to suit itself.
(a) The doctrines of Aristotle came to have the power of law
(b) Truth was not discoverable, by that time truth was
dictated by the Church.
(c) It became a crime of the first order even to question the
Church sponsored views of Aristotle, to say nothing of
suggesting that experimentation might be a better way to
establish the truth.
C. The New Awakening
1. During the Renaissance, universities were able to free themselves
from Church rule and science was able to see the light of day
without being shrouded in theology.
a. All of the following produced revolutionary ideas which led to
their authors spending some part of their lives in prison because,
while the Church did not have a stranglehold on the human mind, it
still ruled with an iron fist and was always on the lookout for
(1) Copernicus developed the heliocentric theory of the
(2) Galileao, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler established the
fundamental ideas of modern celestial mechanics, based upon
observation first, and theorizing afterward, thus
revolutionizing scientific thought.
(a) Galileo in particular stressed the idea of controlled
experimentation to such a degree that today he is recognized
as the father of the modern scientific method based upon
inductive rather than deductive reasoning.
(b) Galileo carried observation to the quantitative stage by
making accurate measurements. He truly emphasized the 'how',
as contrasted with the 'why' of Aristotle.
(c) By quantitative observations on falling bodies and other
mechanical motions, assisted by instruments of his own
invention to improve the accuracy of his measurements,
Galileo laid the foundation for the discoveries of Newton.
(3) Sir Isaac Newton is considered by many to be the greatest
scientific genius the world has produced thus far.
(a) He crystallized the scientific thought of his time into a
few fundamental statements now accepted as laws of nature.
(b) These include three famous laws of motion and the law of
gravitation in the field of mechanics alone.
(c) In addition, he invented calculus and contributed greatly
to the field of optics.
(d) His role was primarily that of a co-ordinator of
information or a systematizer of knowledge. He formulated the
over all pattern by which scientific knowledge was to be
organized in the great classical period that was to follow his
D. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Classical Period.
1. Science was really gathering momentum by this time and becoming
a. The various branches of physics received recognition as fields
that, while related, were becoming too complex to be included
under the general heading of physics.
b. Chemistry was coming into its own after a balky start as the
secret science of Alchemy.
c. Electricity was an infant science, with a great deal of
E. The Modern Period (1890 to Present)
1. With the discovery of radioactivity and x-rays, along with the
isolation of the electron, and the formulation of the concept of the
electrical structure of matter, science moved into today.
a. In the early days, science was concerned with the observation
of natural phenomena and the search for explanations of WHY they
(1) As the emphasis shifted to HOW the phenomena worked the body
of knowledge grew dramatically.
(a) Many varied disciplines developed to encompass general
fields of specialized knowledge and sciences such as geology,
oceanography, and meteorology came into their own.
(b) In the light of this tendency to form subgroups, the
mother of all sciences, which was and is dedicated to the
study of the physical world, came to be known as Physics.
b. The field of physics deals with three 'realities' of the
physical world and has developed three interconnected world views
to explain them.
(1) Classical Newtonian Model of the Universe
(a) This model of the universe works well when you deal with
objects consisting of large numbers of atoms, and velocities
which are small compared to the speed of light. In other
words, our mundane world.
(2) Einstein's Relativistic Model of the Universe
(a) This model works well when considering objects on a
planetary and larger scale that may be many light years away
from each other. In this model the shortest distance between
two points is not always a straight line, because gravity
(3) Quantum Theory of the Universe
(a) Quantum theory was developed to explain the behavior of
subatomic particles. It is similar to Relativistic physics in
that it deals with speeds approaching, and sometimes
exceeding, the speed of light, but it considers small groups
and singular particles at a time.
II. THE CRAFT VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE
A. Craft cosmology is rooted in the paleolithic Shaman's insight of
the universe being made up of swirls of energy.
1. Everything is seen as vortexes of moving forces which are either
swirling into existence or out again.
a. These vortexes of force set up currents in a sea of
2. The appearance of separateness exists where fixed objects exist
within a linear stream of time.
a. Reality, as we know it, is actually a temporary solidification
of a field of energies into a physical form.
B. Rationale of the Two Principles
a. Stewart Farrar has proposed the following explanation of how
Crafters integrate every phenomenon from chemistry to clairvoyance
into a philosophical framework that allows them to constantly
explain, examine, develop and improve their philosophy.
(1) The Theory of Levels maintains that a reality exists and
operates on many planes.
(a) That each of these levels has its own laws.
(b) That these sets of laws, while special to their own levels,
are compatible with each other.
(c) That mutual resonance governs the interaction between the
(2) The Theory of Polarity maintains that all activity, all
manifestation, arises from the interaction of pairs and
(a) Pairs of opposites such as positive and negative, light and
dark, content and form, male and female are not conflicts
between 'good and evil', but a creative tension like that
between the earth and the sky in a lightning storm.
III MODES OF PERCEPTION
A. Ordinary Waking Consciousness
1. Sees the world as made up of separate parts of matter.
a. While some of the arrangements of matter are recognized as
living, few are recognized as intelligent.
b. Evolved as a means of survival.
(1) Allows a differentiation between things that are
potentially threatening and those that are not.
(a) It works by narrowing the field of conscious perception
to one thing at a time, isolating it from its surroundings.
(b) Starhawk describes it as viewing a dark forest with a
narrow beam flashlight that illuminates a lone leaf or a
c. It casts a net across reality which allows us to break the
whole down into pieces which can be examined one at a time or
fitted together to get the 'whole picture'.
(1) It is based on a culturally transmitted system of
classification which acknowledges the existence of phenomena
that is perceived as valid by the majority and ignores
anything that is not.
B. Extraordinary Waking Consciousness
1. Views the world as broad, holistic and undifferentiated.
a. Allows us to see patterns and relationships between all the
vortexes of energy that make up the universe.
(1) Frees us from the constraints of our culture, but prevents
us from sharing it with others who have not experienced it.
(a) The psychic and magical aspects of the Craft are
concerned with shifting into and out of this mode of
perception at will.
C. The Hemispheres of the Brain
1. The brain is actually composed of two specialized organs, which
provide us with our perception of reality.
a. The brain is made up of several different structures, which are
believed to have evolved as we became more adaptive to our
(1) The Spinal Cord
(a) This is the oldest part of the brain, stretching from the
neck down to the base of the spine.
(b) The two principle functions associated with the spinal
cord are simple reflexes and to provide an electrical
connection between the brain which controls the body and the
nerves which cause the muscles to move the body and provide
feedback to the brain.
(2) The Brain Stem
(a) This is situated on top of the spinal cord. It still
possesses the tubular form of the spinal cord and in some
respects can be thought of as an extension of it.
(b) There is a very intricate network of nerves in the
brainstem known as the reticular formation. The reticular
formation is the central point from which and to which all
nerves run between the body and the brain.
(c) Visualizing the reticular formation as a telephone
operators switchboard helps to understand its function. It
sends all stimuli that has not proven to be benign to the
brain for immediate attention and suppresses all other
(d) The brain is still aware of all of the other stimuli, but
it need not focus on all of it at once.
(3) The Cerebellum
(a) Connected to the brainstem is the cerebellum, which
somewhat resembles the cortex in terms of its neuronal
structure though it is much older than the cortex.
(b) The cerebellum is primarily concerned with the co-
ordination of movements. It seems to integrate the information
coming from all the senses with all the muscles so as to
produce smooth, finely tuned movements rather than jerky unco-
(4) The Midbrain
(a) The midbrain consists of the Thalamus, the Limbic System,
and the Hypothalamus.
(b) The Thalamus sits on top of the brain and relays
information from the sensory organs to the cortex and between
different portions of the cortex and the reticular formation
and the limbic system.
(c) The Limbic System is a group of structures in the middle
of the brain that play an important role in emotion and
motivation. Included in the limbic system is the pineal gland,
which is thought by some to be the 'third eye.'
(d) Just below the thalamus is the Hypothalamus, which
regulates the internal balance of the body. The pituitary
gland is located here and it is the gland which tells all the
other glands when to produce hormones.
(5) The Neocortex
(a) The Neocortex, or Cortex, as it is commonly called, makes
up only one quarter of the brains total volume, but it
contains 75% of all the neurons that make up the brain.
(b) The cortex is also known by its greyish color which is a
result of a greater density of blood cells in this region.
For this reason, the cortex is sometimes called 'grey
matter' and the rest of the brain is called 'white matter.'
(c) Some areas of the cortex play particular roles in sensory
activity. The rear of the cortex is associated with the
processing of visual information, a small area on the side
with auditory information, and a strip extending from the top
center of the cortex down each side is concerned with the
sense of touch and also with muscular control.
2. Large parts of the cortex do not appear to be very specific in
a. Rather, they seem to be concerned with the integration of
information from several different senses.
b. In other words, the cortex builds up a total world view based
on all the information that is relayed by the body's senses.
c. In reality, the cortex is not just one structure, but two,
which appear to have developed separate, but complementary,
(1) The left side of the cortex seems to have specialized in
(a) It is here that math ability is found, along with
understanding language and a sense of linear time.
(2) The right side of the cortex seems to have specialized in
(a) Creativity, all forms of art, the sense of rhythm and
music and a distinct lack of time sense characterize the
states of consciousness which are attributed to the right
side of the cortex.
d. To make things really interesting, these two sides of the
cortex are connected by a mass of nerves, which form what is
called the corpus callosum.
(1) It just so happens that the corpus callosum wires the brain
up so that the right side of the body is controlled by the left
side of the brain and vice versa.
IV. THE CONCEPTS OF THE SELF
A. Classical Psychoanalysis
1. Freudian and Jungian Psychology
a. The Id and the Personal and Collective Unconscious
(1) Contains sensations, emotions, basic drives, image memory,
intuition and diffuse perception.
b. The Ego
(1) Organizes the impressions of the unconscious, gives those
impressions names, and classifies them into systems.
c. The Super-Ego
(1) A set of verbally understood precepts, that encourages us to
make judgments about right and wrong according to the society in
which we reside.
2. Transactional Analysis (T/A)
(1) Corresponds to the Id and the Personal and Collective
(1) Corresponds to the Ego
(1) Corresponds to the Super-Ego
B. The Craft Concept of the Three Selves
1. Younger Self or Child
a. Corresponds to the Child mode of T/A
(1) Indirectly experiences the world, through the holistic
awareness of the right hemisphere of the brain.
(a) Due to its limited verbal ability, Younger Self
communicates through images, emotions, sensations, dreams,
visions, and physical symptoms.
2. Talking Self
a. Corresponds to Adult and Parent modes of T/A
(1) Speaks through words, abstract concepts, and mathematics.
3. High Self
a. Does not easily correspond to any 'scientific' concept, because
science refuses to accept the existence of a non-physical soul.
(1) The High Self, or God Self, is the Divine within the Self.
(a) It is the ultimate and original essence, the Spirit that
exists beyond time, space and matter.
(b) It is our deepest level of wisdom and compassion and is
conceived of as being both male and female, two forms of
consciousness united as one.
C. Interactions Between the Three Selves
1. High Self is connected directly to Younger Self, and does not
know how to communicate with Talking Self in a direct manner.
a. In order to communicate between High Self and Talking Self, we
must learn to speak in Younger Self's language.
(1) We utilize symbols, art, poetry, music, myth, and the
actions of ritual.
(a) These translate abstract concepts into the language of
the unconscious and thus we can communicaate to the High Self
through the Child Self.
V. THE FOUR PRICES OF FREEDOM
A. As in everything else in the world, nothing is free.
1. There are four prices that a Wiccan must pay in return for the
wisdom and power that they can gain through the Craft.
a. Paying these prices awakens our true potentials and allows us
to be 'as gods', and thus help us to creat a better universe.
(1) Discipline and Responsibility
(a) To awaken the extra-ordinary mode of consciousness is a
natural step in any Wiccan development but it requires a
great deal of practice to develop and train it properly.
(b) Powers and abilities gained through this heightened
awareness must also be used responsibly, for otherwise they
will destroy their possessors.
(2) A Willingness to Play
(a) We unleash a great power when we are willing to let go of
our adult dignity and laugh for no particular reason, without
worrying about looking foolish.
(b) For example, we can make believe that a wand has magic
power, and it becomes a channel for energy.
(c) Humour and play awaken the sense of wonder that
characterizes Wiccans, and is the basic attitude that the
Craft takes into the World.
(3) The need to maintain a balance between the different states
(a) The difference between magic and psychosis lies in
maintaining the ability to step back, by an act of will, into
the ordinary mode of perception.
(4) A willingness to face the most frightening of all beings,
one's own self.
(a) The depth of our inner selves are not all sunlit.
(b) To see clearly, we must be willing to dive into the dark,
inner abyss and acknowledge the creatures that we may find
there as being a part of what makes us what we are.
VI. ANALYSIS OF THE CREATION MYTH
A. The Creation Myth which is located at the beginning of the Chapter
Two of "The Spiral Dance" by Starhawk, expresses the attitude of
wonder, to the world which is Divine and to the Divine which is the
1. In the beginning, the Goddess is the All, virgin, complete within
a. The female nature of the ground is stressed because the process
of creation is a birth process.
(1) The world is born, not made, and definately not commanded
2. The Goddess sees Her reflection in the curved mirror of space.
a. Water is the original mirror on earth.
(1) The image conveyed is similar to that of the Moon floating
over the dark sea, watching Her reflection in the waves.
b. There is yet another aspect of the mirror.
(1) A mirror is a reversed image. It is the same but opposite,
of reverse polarity.
(a) The image in the mirror is the embodiment of the
(b) All things are one yet each is separate, individual and
3. The Goddess falls in love with Herself, drawing forth Her own
emanations which take on a life of its own.
a. Love of self for self is the creative force of the universe.
(1) Desire is the primal energy that motivates and that energy
(a) It has been expressed as the attraction of lover to the
beloved, moon to plant, and electron to proton.
(2) Blind Eros becomes Amor
(a) The love that is personal, directed towards an individual
rather than the universal sexless charity of the Christian
Agape or indescriminaate sexual desire.
(b) The Goddess' reflection takes on its own Being and is
given a Name.
(c) Love is not only an energizing force but an
individualizing force as well. It dissolves separation and yet
creates individuality. Again, it is the universal paradox.
4. The sense of wonder, of joy and delight in the natural world is
the essence of the Craft.
a. The world is not seen as a flawed creation from which we must
escape, nor is it in need of salvation or redemption.
b. However it may appear from day to day by the nature of its
deepest being, the world fills us with wonder.
5. Divine ecstasy becomes the fountain of creation and creation is
seen as an orgasmic process.
a. Ecstasy is at the heart of the Craft.
(1) During ritual we turn the paradox inside out, and become the
Goddess, sharing in the primal throbbing joy of union.
b. The Craft is a shamanistic religion, and the spiritual value
placed on ecstasy is a high one.
(1) It is seen as the source of union, healing, creative
inspiration, and communion with the Divine.
(a) Ecstasy brings about harmony.
6. By its very nature matter sings.
a. The song is carried forth on waves that become spheres.
(1) The waves are the waves of orgasm, light waves, ocean waves,
pulsating electrons, waves of sound.
(a) The waves form spheres as swirling gases in space
coalesce and form stars.
b. It is a basic insight of the Craft any energy, whether
physical, psychic or emotional, moves in waves, in cycles that are
7. The Goddess swells with love and gives birth to a rain of bright
a. It is a rain that awakens consciousness in the world as
moisture awakens green growth on earth.
(1) The rain is the fructifying menstrual blood, the Moon's
blood that nourishes life.
(a) It is also the bursting waters that herald birth.
(b) And birth is the ecstatic giving forth of life.
8. The motion or vibration becomes so great that Miria is swept
a. As She moves further and further from the point of union She
becomes more polarized and more differentiated, until She become
(1) The Goddess has projected Herself.
(a) Her projected Self becomes the Other, Her Opposite, who
eternally yearns for reunion.
(2) The energy field of the cosmos becomes polarized.
(a) It becomes a conductor of forces exerted in opposite
VII. ANALYSIS OF THE MYTH OF THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
A. The rituals of the eight Solar Holydays, the Sabbats of the year,
are derived from the Myth of the Wheel of the Year.
1. The cycle of the Goddess which occurs on a monthly basis is
contrasted to the slower cycle of the God, which takes a full solar
year to complete.
a. The Goddess reveals Her threefold aspects as--
(a) She is the Virgin, Patroness of birth and initiation.
(a) She is the sexual temptress, lover, siren, and
(a) She is the dark force of life, which demands death and
b. The God changes -- from Son to Brother to Lover, and eventually
becomes His own Father.
(1) He is the eternal sacrifice who is eternally reborn into a
(a) All things are divine as manifestations of the Goddess.
(b) The death of the grain in the harvest, or the death of a
deer in the hunt, was considered to be a divine sacrifice
freely made out of love so that life might go on.
VIII. EXAMINATION OF THE ALL AS TWO GREAT FORCES
A. The view of the All as an energy field polarized by two great
forces is common to almost all traditions of the Craft.
1. These forces have been named Female and Male. And Goddess and
a. Which in their ultimate being are aspects of each other.
(1) It is important to separate the concept of polarity from our
culturally conditioned images of female and male.
(a) The Female and Male forces represent a difference, yet
they are not different in essence.
(b) They are the same force, flowing in opposite, but not
2. The Female force is seen as the Life-giving force.
a. It is the power of manifestation, of energy flowing into the
world to become force.
3. The Male force is seen as the Death-giving force.
a. This is death in a positive rather than a negative way.
(1) Death is seen as the Force of Limitation that is necessary
to provide a balance to unbridled creation.
(a) It is the force of dissolution, of return to
b. Each principle contains the other.
(1) Life breeds death and feeds on death.
(2) Death sustains life and makes evolution and new creation
c. They are opposing halves of a complete cycle.
(1) They area each dependent upon the other.
4. Existence is sustained by the on/off pulse, the alternating
current if you will, of the two forces in perfect balance.
a. Unchecked the life force is a cancer whereas the death force
becomes unbridled war and genocide when allowed to go unbalanced.
(1) When held in balance they are in harmony and work to renew
and sustain life.
(a) We see the effects of this balance in the changing cycle
of the seasons, and in the ecological balance of the natural
IX OLD AGE IN THE CRAFT
A. The Craft does not maintain, like the first Truth of Buddhism, that
"All life is suffering." On the contrary, we maintain that life is a
thing of wonder.
1. Old age is a natural and highly valued part of the cycle of life,
the time of greatest wisdom and understanding.
a. We look forward to the time when we are freed from the cycle of
reproduction so that we may devote more time to our preparation
and contemplation of the journey into death at the end our years.
(1) This does not mean that the joys of sex become lost to us
but that the urgency that wells up in the Spring and rides us
through until the Autumn subsides and we get to go at our own
(a) While the quantity sometimes decreases, the quality
2. The Crone serves as a role model for both women and men in their
a. A tendency to withdraw from society to a certain degree is
coupled with a diminishing of compassion in favor of a little more
emphasis on justice and balance.
(1) People soon find that appealing to the Goddess as the Mother
brings help tempered by a mother's willingness to overlook the
fact that most children bring problems upon themselves.
(a) Appealing to the Goddess as Crone however, gets a full
measure of justice for all parties involved.
(b) The Crone does not play favorites, She has the severity
of a strong will to see justice done, that prevents Her from
doting on any of Her grandchildren.
3. Old age sometimes brings suffering.
a. Where suffering is a natural part of the cycle of birth and
decay, it is relieved by understanding and acceptance. By a
willingness to give over to both the dark and the light in turn.
(1) Disease can cause misery and suffering but it is not seen as
something to be inevitably suffered.
(a) The practice of the Craft has always been connected with
the healing arts, herbalism, and midwifery.
b. When suffering is the result of the social order or human
injustice, the Craft encourages active work to relieve it.
(1) Witches are naturals for getting involved in the ecology
movement and other movements that try to address the issues that
they feel make society as a whole ill, both physically and
4. Nor is death fearful in old age.
a. It is seen simply as the dissolution of the physical form.
(1) It allows the spirit to prepare to be reborn into a new
X. DEATH AS SEEN BY A MEMBER OF THE CRAFT.
A. The experience of death is a lesson for the living.
1. The people most affected by death are the people left behind who
must learn to deal with their sense of loss.
a. In the Craft, death in this world is seen as a birth into the
"other" world that has been given many names.
(1) The Summerland, Tirn-nan-og, and Avalon are all names given
to a pleasant land, usually in the West, where people go to
examine their past lives, grow young again, and prepare to be
born into this world again.
(a) There are two theories about why the world beyond is
thought to be in the west. One is that the last rays of the
setting sun 'die' in the west and lead the way into the dark.
While the other is that since the invaders always came from
the east, the people who were being invaded came to think of
the west as being safe because it was the direction they were
running toward in order to get away from the invaders.
b. Rebirth is not considered to be condemnation to an endless,
dreary round of suffering as in Eastern religions.
(1) Instead it is seen as the great gift of the Goddess who is
manifest in the physical world.
(a) Life and the world are not separate from the Godhead. They
are immanent in the divinity.
2. Since death is seen as a part of the natural order of things and
the Witch is taught that the departed spirits go on to the next life
to be watched over by the Goddess and the God until they are reborn,
a Witch should not grieve over the loss of a loved one.
a. The realization of how much the departed person meant to the
ones who are left behind is gauged by the memories that live on in
the people still living.
(1) It is said that the departed do not die as long as their
memory lives on in the hearts of the ones left behind them.
(a) Keeping the memory alive and participating in the
seasonal celebrations prepares the people left behind for
being visited by the departed when the two worlds come close
to one another at Hallows.
(b) It is always important to remember that a death in this
world is a birth in the other world, and just as you did not
have a lot of time for anything other than learning to
function in this world when you were young, newly departed
people have to learn to function in their new world and may
not be able to visit as often as you would like.
3. The belief the Karma ties a certain number of souls together over
and over again in many lives reassures people of the Craft that they
will meet the departed in a new life.
a. Part of the training of the Craft is learning to see your own
past lives in relation to the people around you and their past
lives as well as discerning patterns of Karma in your everyday
END OF LESSON 2