What Is Traditional Witchcraft?
in The Traditional Craft
The Traditional Witch ~ Beginner's Traditional Witchcraft 101
Most Traditional Crafters are spiritually-minded. Within the Trad Craft there is a wide spectrum of beliefs and a variety of different Gods and pantheons that have deep meaning to individual Trad Crafters.
Often, but not always, Trad Crafter beliefs will reflect aspects of either pantheism or panentheism alongside with and including polytheism. This practice is a blend of perception, reality, and practicality. Some may find this spiritual dichotomy more than a paradox; but we find it natural.
New seekers are not expected to recognize or use any specific God, gods, or pantheon of Gods. Assuming one has no family tradition in this regard that you know of, any divine entity with a substantial history in the British Isles can be used. Or no God whatsoever need be used, if you so wish. Nevertheless, keep in mind that some use of The Horned God is very common and directly related to this spirituality. That is why The Horned God is included in some of our rituals and spellworkings.
The worldview of spirituality below is reflective of this Trad only-- Blue Moon Manor.
Underlying many Trad Crafter's spirituality is the concept of pantheism or to a lesser extent, panentheism. They are similar but different.
Pantheism believes that everything in the universe is divine and the divine is everything in the universe, whether the divine is a single God or more than one God, or an animating force (The Presence, The One, Universal Consciousness). In Pantheism, the divine and the universe are identical.
Panentheism goes beyond pantheism to believe that the universe is contained within God, or that God is the universe and everything beyond the universe.
We also believe that Nature encompasses the physical world as well as the Spirit World and that Nature and the Spirit World are in fact part of God.
To the pantheist and panentheist, the divine is not a remote monotheistic "Almighty God" male-king-on-a-gold-throne figure, an old dude kept busy judging and punishing. Instead, the divine should be an intimate deity concept that surrounds us in this world and is very much part of everything in our lives.
But for many it is Nature that evokes a religious feeling of awe and belonging, and it is Nature that we recognize as sacred.
While pantheism or panentheism is a worldview most share in the Traditional Craft, traditionally Trad Crafters also subscribe to some form of polytheism as a complimentary belief system. This dual approach is held by the vast majority of Crafters. It is seen as one belief system with two aspects.
The Polytheistic Gods
Polytheism is the belief in more than one god, usually in the form of a few specific gods or a pantheon of gods. These gods are always directly related to British pagan history. These include either local British gods, or the gods from the Norse, Germanic (Saxon), Celtic, or Roman cultures.
If the presence of the Roman gods surprises you, know that Britain was a Roman province for hundreds of years. There was considerable tolerance, mutual respect, and attraction between the Romans and native British peoples. Roman pagan practices intermeshed with British pagan practices very well and even the separate gods seemed to reflect their counterpart. For an example, while a number of goddesses were worshipped in Britain, the Roman goddess Diana become widely popular in Britain.
The influence of Roman life and Roman religion greatly influenced many aspects of daily life in Britain.
Note that Roman and most Norse religious ceremonies are not usually part of Traditional Craft ritual but are considered complimentary but separate. For example, while many Crafters mention the Horned God and possibly also a female consort, other Gods usually are not. Roman gods would be honoured separately in Roman rituals, as has always been the custom. The exception is Diana, which is mentioned within some Traditional Craft ritual.
But there is no strict standard. I am only telling you one way of doing things.
The recognition of a pantheon or of specific gods in personal practice is a dichotomy, a separation into two divisions, a ritual observance that is held separately and in the proper form of the original culture. In other words, we keep the gods' original observances as close to their original manner as possible (of course without animal sacrifice) in keeping traditions.
Magic and religious observances are held side by side, in a complimentary manner, at times in harmony with each other, but not together. Thus, we honour and observe the Gods in their true manner.
Another important point is that the Gods of different cultures are never mixed with each other, with the exception of The Horned God and the Goddess of the Moon, Diana. So, seekers that do not have a tradition or Trad to guide them, should wait before selecting which Gods to accept until this issue can be properly researched and the seeker has time to look within themselves before making any decision and commitment.
Note: We have explained some aspects of the religious beliefs of this Trad and of some, probably many if not most, Crafters. Nonetheless, it should be clearly kept in mind that Traditional Crafters on the whole have a wide spectrum of beliefs and individual Crafters have accepted a wide variety of Gods and pantheons with a history in Britain.
- If you are agnostic or atheist: While Traditional Crafters usually have set spiritual beliefs, a very small percentage of Crafters, especially young seekers, believe they are agnostic or atheist. This is not a traditional perspective to spirituality, however by some it will be tolerated, to a degree.
- If you are a religious Christian: It must be understood that a Traditional Craft cannot be an observant Jew, Christian or Muslim. This is because the fundamental beliefs of European paganism of which we are part and the fundamental beliefs of all three monotheistic religions are mutually exclusive.
That means paganism and all three monotheistic religions have radically conflicting belief systems that are not compatible and cannot be reconciled. If you would like to read more on this topic, go to:
Can a Christian Become a Traditional Witch?
Tolerance of the Individual
Traditional Crafters have a disinterested attitude towards the three monotheistic religions but always treat individual Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans with respect, as long as they respect us.
Be aware that all true seekers are welcomed with an open heart.
Next Part: Spirits & The Spirit World