What Is Traditional Witchcraft?
Spirits & The Spirit World
The Traditional Witch ~ Beginner's Traditional Witchcraft 101
We are souls temporarily in a physical bodies on Earth. However, our natural home is in the Spirit World, commonly also called the Other Side. Whether we realize it or not, spirits (or souls) surround us, whether in human bodies or "in spirit" without bodies. Because our natural home is the Spirit World, being without a physical body is our natural state. Therefore, life on Earth is only a transitory experience.
Just like we have family and friends in this earthly life, so we have had other lives in which we nurtured friendships and family relationships among those we treasured. Some of these spirits may be again in human form and are friends or family in this life. Certainly, there are other spirits that we have known and loved from other lives that are "in spirit," living in the Spirit World. A spirit is simply nothing more and nothing less than another person. There is really nothing mysterious about a spirit.
We are able to communicate to these spirits easily, by speaking. Sometimes spirits know what their earthly friend wants by hearing prayer, sometimes by hearing comments as we speak. These spirits are able to help us, if it is within the parameters of what is allowed. We only have to ask. This is easy to do, just speak. The spirits always hear us, whether we shout or whisper, it does not matter. But we must speak if we want spirits to directly know what we are thinking because the spirits in the Spirit World cannot read our minds.
The Traditional Crafter learns to forge relationships with spirits and to work with spirits in doing magic. Spirits can be invited to ritual and spellworkings. They help us facilitate spellcraft. We each have one or more spirits that wish to help us. Some call this helper a familiar, others call the helper a spirit guide or guardian spirit. But at other times they are just past family and friends that are interested in us and wish to help.
We can access the Spirit World in order to form a relationship with those spirits interested in us. While spirits can easily hear us when we speak, hearing what they want to say is more difficult. Sometimes spirits communicate with us in dreams, sometimes through Going Within (meditation) we can be made aware of messages. By using Hedge Witchery (shamanistic) techniques we can gain communication, but this takes considerable training and dedication.
As with all people, the individual personality of spirits varies as the personality of the humans we know varies. Some spirits will be co-operative and helpful, and a other spirits will be unco-operative and nasty. But most spirits we do not know from other lives will tend to be neutral.
In many traditions, experienced Crafters may invite the Elementals or Directionals who may also be asked for their assistance in occasionally difficult or important spells that effect the elements.
Do not confuse spirits with angles. Angels are a different type of spiritual entity that is higher than most spirits, but they also are available for help, whether or not we ask.
The Spirit World
The concept of the Spirit World, or the Other Side (heaven), is also universal. The soul travels back and forth between earthly existence and spiritual existence in the Spirit World as is necessary. This is normal. The soul is pure energy. Energy can change but can never be destroyed. Therefore, on one level, death on earth is an illusion, for the soul continues to live by travelling first to astral plane, which is the lowest level of the Spirit World. There, the soul adjusts back to living on the spiritual dimension before rising to one of the higher levels.
In fact, our true home is in the Spirit World. Our lives on earth are only temporary. Earth is like a schoolroom, and we come here only to learn.
When spirits cross over to the Other Side they can choose what they wish to do. There are several options. Some reincarnate back to Earth, others live on the Other Side, others become Spirit Guides and help humans on Earth. We each have at least one Spirit Guide during each lifetime on Earth. Spirit Guides are accessible when we need them. Speak and your Spirit Guide will hear you. Some call this prayer.
The soul can also choose to bond with nature and become a Land Spirit, becoming a part of the general spiritual aspect of Nature. Land Sprits are important as they are also easily accessible and can also aide us.
Another aspect of working with spirits is the practices of the Hedge Witch. For the Hedge Witch, astral projection and crossing the hedge, or shamanic journeying, are key elements in their Craft. However, a Hedge Witch can also be a channel, or be capable of contacting their channelled spirit and obtain specific information for a client, family member, friend, or for themself. Most channels refer to themselves as a 'channel' or a 'medium channel'. Crossing the hedge is an especially ancient practice that has become more popular today. There are books available today on astral projection, shamanic journeying, and channelling.
The Hedge Witch will use meditation to enter a trance state, called Twilight. From this state the Hedge Witch can cross the hedge, or go on a Shamanic Journey to enter one of the three Worlds in the Spirit World, or the Other Side. There the Hedge Witch can converse and learn from spirit guides and teachers.
The ability to practice crossing the hedge, shamanism, can be learned by anyone, however very few have the calling to be a true Healer capable of healing souls, of healing the body. This is a Sacred Calling. However, many can master crossing the hedge to learn and help others by information provided to the Crafter by the spirits.
I should mention that many that practice shamanism in the Traditional Craft do not call themselves hedge witches.
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