What Is Traditional Witchcraft?
The Gods in The Traditional Craft
The Traditional Witch ~ Beginner's Traditional Witchcraft 101
Most Traditional Crafters, or Traditional Witches, are spiritually-minded. Within the Trad Craft there is a wide spectrum of beliefs. Often, individual beliefs will reflect aspects of either pantheism or panentheism alongside polytheism. It is a blend of perception, reality, and practicality. Some may find this spiritual dichotomy more than a paradox; but we find it to be natural.
Underlying most Trad Witchcraft spirituality is the concept of pantheism or panentheism. They are similar but different.
- Pantheism believes that everything in the universe is God and God is everything in the universe.
- 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 figure kept busy judging and punishing us. Instead, the divine is an intimate deity concept that surrounds us in this world and is very much part of everything in our lives, but more, that we are part of Deity.
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 in a complimentary belief system. This dual approach is held by the vast majority of Crafters. It is in fact one belief system with two aspects.
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 the Horned God can be mentioned in in ritual, most Roman gods are not. They would be honoured separately in Roman rituals, as has always been the custom. The exception is Diana, which is mentioned within Traditional Craft ritual.
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 Norse and Roman 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 usually never mixed with each other. So beginner witch craft seekers that do not have a tradition or Trad to guide them, should wait before selecting which gods to honour until this issue can be properly researched and the seeker has time to look within themselves before making any decision and commitment.
We have explained the religious beliefs of the vast majority of Crafters. However, it should be kept in mind that this is to a degree variable.
Two Cases In Point:
- While habitually Traditional Crafters have very strong religious beliefs, a very small percentage of young Crafters today are agnostic or atheist. This is not a traditional perspective, however it is tolerated if not advocated.
- It must be understood that a seeker to 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 they are radically conflicting belief systems that are not compatible, with belief systems that cannot be reconciled. If you would like to read more on this topic, go to Can a Christian Become a Traditional Witch?
However, be aware those that select to become a seeker in the Traditional Craft are welcomed with an open heart.
I wish to be clear that while we disagree with the three monotheistic religions, we must always be courteous and respectful to individual members of these religions, unless their individual members are not courteous and respectful to us.
Most Crafters have a disinterested attitude towards the three monotheistic religions but always treat individual Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans with due respect, as long as they respect us.
Next Part: Spirits & The Spirit World