Since its public introduction in the 1950s, the Wicca religion has grown into a fascinating spiritual path for the 15,222 Australians . Yet very little is known about this modern, Earth centred religion.
What is Wicca?
Complexly, Wicca is often described as a form of pagan witchcraft that bases its practices on contemporary pagan rituals. People who practice Wicca(Wiccans) see it as a peaceful, harmonious and balanced way of life. Which promotes oneness with all life and living things. It is believed that the Wicca religion is inspired by- and shares commonalities with- the ancient traditions of witchcraft.
Technically, witchcraft and Wicca, although similar in many ways, are not identical. You can be a witch without being a Wiccan. Wicca is a recognised religion, while witchcraft itself is not a religion. Thus, Wicca is pretty much a modern religion based on ancient traditions of witchcraft.
Origins of Wicca
Wicca was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and presented to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British official. The Wicca religion is based on a variety of 20thcentury hermetic and ancient pagan motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices. Wicca has no central authority or religious figure.
Most modern Wicca traditional beliefs, principles, and practices were originally outlined by Gerald Gardnerand Doreen Valiente. Particularly in the 1940s and 1950s in published works. As well as in secret written and oral teachings given to their initiators. If ever there was a dude that looked like a stereotypical wizard, it’s Gerald. There are many variations in the core structure as the religion grows and develops over time.
‘Gardner’s theories were drawn from numerous sources, including Freemasonry, magical orders such as the Golden Dawn and fellow occultists, including Aleister Crowley,’ BBC.
Today, Wicca is divided into a number of different lines, sects and denominations, which are called traditions. Each tradition has its own organisational structure and centralisation level.
The Wicca belief system
The Wicca belief system is kind of based on the reconstruction of pre-Christian traditions that originated in the Ireland, Scotland and Wales areas. Although most of the information about how the Wicca ancestors lived, worshipped and believed was lost. Mainly through the efforts of the Medieval Church that wanted to erase the existence of Witchcraft from history. Today, modern Wiccans try to recreate these beliefs and practices.
At its essence Wicca is a deep fondness and reverence for mother nature. And everything within it and created in nature.
Perhaps due to its decentralisation, there are disagreements about the exact nature of Wicca worship. It bears the characteristic of a typical duotheistic religion, worshipping both a Goddess and a God or several of their variations. These are traditionally considered as the Goddess of the Moonand the Horned God. However, there are no rules about which patrons to worship some people worship as few as one, and as many as four or five.
As part of their spiritual practice, many Wiccans try to develop their intuitive abilities and practice magic. And even spellcraft by directing their psychic energy for specific therapeutic and relief purposes. While practising magic, Wiccans adhere to the Wicca Rede. This is a form of Golden Rule that is the central ethical law of the religion. ‘Let it harm none.’ Most Wiccans acknowledge that every magical power posted is magnified and returned to the sender.
Let it harm none.
Contrary to popular culture and all those brilliant movies and TV shows we love, Wiccans do not practice evil magic or honour the Devil/Satan as such. Wicca has existed pre-and post-Christianity and is not even anti-Christian.
You might also like to read about mythology.
All ego really is, is our opinions, which we take to be solid, real, and the absolute truth about how things are. Pema Chödrön
Recently, I joined (well rejoined) a gym. Which is not noteworthy in itself but it’s kind of unnecessary as I’m already a member of a fitness studio where I regularly do four or five classes a week. By most people’s standards, that is a decent amount of exercise.
But I wasn’t getting the results (read: high expectations) that I wanted and things weren’t panning out as I expected. So, the ego goes:
‘Things aren’t working out, push harder.’
As such, I upped my workouts to eight a week.
And immediately got sick. So, the body (one of our best and most accurate oracles) goes…
‘I’m physically stopping you right now.’
I didn’t have it in me to workout for more than a week. I was physically stopped from old patterns and easy to grab “go to” situations and firmly placed right in front of my soul (or Id), unable to escape.
So, the soul goes…
‘Try something else. As long as you are free.’
Which is counter intuitive. Which is counter society. Which is counter logic. Because rarely, if ever, do you hear or absorb the message that working out is not a good thing. And the more you do, the better you feel, right?
Where am I at now? I’m experimenting. I’m experimenting with resting more (perhaps temporarily until the ego kicks back in).
What I’m not saying is…
…that I am giving up working out, or even aiming to work out less. What I am saying is that I’m willing to experiment with sitting with the soul (the greater/deeper part of me, whatever you/we want to call it) and seeing what resides there. What wisdom exists that counterbalances ‘things aren’t working out, push harder.’
You might like… what is tasseography?
Today’s daily tarot reading card offers a light hearted message and a reminder to basically “chillax” and enjoy yourself. Pop on a funny movie or do something silly and frivolous. As I was shuffling, I also heard ‘increase the peace’.
Perfect day for it.
Magickal Spellcards deck by Lucy Cavendish
Perhaps not as clearly defined as the flower in my tasseography coffee but I cannot deny there are were angel wings in my coffee on that day.
Whether they exist or not, or you believe they do or not, angels universally conjure up very specific vibes, generally that of protection and mercy. Rarely, do you think of an angel, fictional or otherwise, and think of anything but pleasing thoughts.
So, I was assured protection and luck created outside of my being and supernaturally (perhaps by angels?) that day. In hindsight, I wish I had bought a lotto ticket or something else that required a smacking of luck.
Because I like to get the most bang for my buck, I also see a four leafed clover in the bubbles. The combination of extreme luck and angelic vibes? Well, that’s just brilliant.
Can you see the angel wings and the four leaf clover?
I love the way some of my coffee images are just so recognisable at times. This was one of those mornings. The tasseography image in my coffee was a flower, specifically a tulip.
Bit hard to pinpoint this meaning but there were suggestions of beauty and life, via my Instagram. However, I felt strongly (which suits upon reflection) that it was more to do with new beginnings and something new (often creative projects) blossoming to life.
Send me the pictures of your morning coffee, tea leaves or similar.
This day’s tasseography showed up a classic symbol – the loveheart. Most people in the wolrd know what a loveheart is, how to draw one and what it unequivocally symbolises. History suggests that the loveheart came about through observations of plants, and/or perhaps early artworks.
Firstly, I love how perfectly formed this teeny tiny loveheat was. And is there anything more delightful than witnessing a delicate symbol of love in your morning coffee tasseography?
‘Since the late 15th century the dented red heart symbol was a common sight, and it was even used on playing cards,’ Vintage News.
I don’t tend to take the symbolism literally for me. Perhaps if I were reading for another, I would suggest this is a love of a romantic nature. But spotting lovehearts for me is more about the self, self identity and love as a universal energy. For lack of a better term. Perhaps, it is more clearly defined as a strong feeling of warmth to those around me and beyond.
How often do lovehearts show up in your beverages? Start keeping count.
You may like… what is tasseography?
Witches… from blockbuster Hollywood movies to the plethora of books and media that either praise or condemn them. They are predominantly known to practice witchcraft which is the belief and use of magical skills and abilities. You may think you know quite a bit about modern witches but do you actually know the real history of witchcraft?
Let’s tug at the veil of mystery that surrounds witchcraft to show you its origin and various facts surrounding it.
The earliest records of witchcraft
The concept of witchcraft and those who practice it (witches) has persisted throughout recorded history and continues to have an important role in many cultures today. The practice of simple sorcery, a form of witchcraftwhich involves giving offerings to spirits or using charms, can be found in most traditional societies. Evidence of this can be found in cave paintings and prehistoric artwhich depict magical rites and religious rituals.
In fact, one of the oldest forms of religion, Shamanism (contacting spirits through dreams, meditation, and trances) is considered a form of witchcraft. Carole Fontaine, a recognised American biblical scholar, argues in her Ancient Mysteries documentaryon witches, that the idea of witchcraft has been around for as long as humans have tried to deal with diseases and avert disaster.
Alleged practices of early witches
In the earliest accounts of human and witchcraft history, witches were seen as servants of deities and goddesses and therefore were revered in their communities. The witchcraft label was applied to those who people believed could influence the mind, body, or property of others. Their practices usually include:
- performing magic
- concocting potions and ointments
- necromancy (conjuring the dead)
- demonology (control of spirits and demons).
Back then, the word “witch” was not exclusively negative and was used to describe a healer or a wise person. However, this all changed in the fifteenth century with the widespread popularity of Christianity and Islam. Witchcraft was then associated with heresy and apostasy and viewed as evil.
Condemnation of witchcraft
Scholars believe that the condemnation of witchcraft began long before the birth of Christ. Even as far back as 1300 years before the common era, when the Hebrews settled in Canaan. The Hebrews believed in the laws of the Bible. And considered witchcraft to be dangerous and prohibited it as a pagan practice. This was further heightened when the Indo-Europeans expanded westward. With them came a warrior culture and male gods that valued aggression, which overshadowed the once-revered female deities.
In the 1300s, when the bubonic plague decimated half of Europe, it also caused a lot of hysteria. Many attributed the plague to the Devil and his supposed worshippers. At this point, the Catholic Church’s Inquisition was already in full swing. And intensified its efforts to seek out and punish the causes of the mass deaths which included the Devil-worshipping witches.
During this period, hundreds of thousands of people were accused and executed for being witches. Others were imprisoned, tortured, banished, and suspects had their possessions and lands confiscated.
Hammer of the witches
This dramatic rise in terror of witchcraft led to an actual witch-hunting manual written in 1486 by two German monks. The Malleus Maleficarum, which is Latin for Hammer of the Witches, outlined how one could identify who was a witch and how to punish one. As well as how to put a witch on trial and why a woman is more likely to be a witch than a man.
The book grew in popularity and eventually became the handbook for trying witches in secular courts throughout Renaissance Europe. However, it was not used by the official Inquisition and was later condemned by the Catholic Church in 1490.
Modern witchcraft practices have grown since the early twentieth century. Now they can involve anything from magic, shamanism and folk medicine, to spiritual healing and calling upon spirits. Plus they veneration of ancient gods and deities. Several neo-pagan witchcraft groups have appeared claiming to be offshoots of traditional witchcraft.
It’s fair to say that witches have had bad press. And whilst there are always unethical and dangerous ones in any subset of people, witches are nothing to fear. Unless, of course, you fuck them over but they are here to help humanity.
I dreamt that I was rigged up to spy on a drug cartel. One organised by a prominent gang of female politicians. Hilary Clinton was there on a press junket. Which was engineered as a distraction for the heavy underworkings of this massive sting operation, run by women, to take down these burly, oily, overweight men. Think men in white singlets and bulging bellies.
Unknowingly, I had befriended one or two of them. And was unwittingly mic’d up (tiny thin wire, sticky taped to my chest, underneath my sheer white shirt). I was in grave danger and I could feel it. You see, I was being used as bait and there was no way that I’d be able to escape this alive, even if I happened to record their brazen confessions and run away from them. They would eventually find me and kill me. And I knew it.
I begged the woman in charge to release me from the burden of being a bit of bait in a sting operation. Furthermore, I did not want to be a sacrifice, no matter the cause.
Besides, I wasn’t even interested in helping the cause. I was just in the crossfire. I was merely the most convenient accessory and arm’s length and I couldn’t say no (thanks to fear). The irony being that I was also afraid of the outcome if I went through with it. As far as I was concerned, all of it had nothing to do with me. I just wanted to do my own thing and not be part of the politics, whatever the, quite possibly revolutionary, outcome.
It was such a no win situation for me that I was scared to play my part, no matter how innocent I was. Or how “right” the cause was.
Firstly, the dream interpretation meaning behind this, I’ve deduced, was that I’m tired and ready to bow out for a bit from all the pressing social issues that plague us daily. Most likely in the feminism bracket, given the strong women in power that featured in my dream. But it’s almost like that is too obvious. Perhaps, it also ties in with my need to stop being used by those around me (albeit innocently on their behalf) but I’m afraid to say no and afraid of the outcomes.
Truth be told, I do want to be passive for a bit. Or forever. Or for this life. That is to say I want change but I feel like I’m not the person to play a part in the effect of. What’s more, I don’t want to be a human sacrifice. This feeling is temporary, thankfully. But I am most certainly tired in a way that sleep can’t fix.
‘Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world’s weight he had never chosen to bear,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
Instead, I want to make beautiful art and live within in my creative realm. Pithy and pathetic and ineffectual in the grand scheme as that probably is.
‘Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul and you answer,’ Terri Guillemets.
What’s your interpretation of this dream? Would love to hear your insights. And don’t forgot to send me your dreams and I’ll throw up a brief interpretation.
At first glance, the image in my morning tasseography appears as a tree. But I knew my coffee images well enough to know that if it was meant to be a tree, it would look exactly like a tree.
Upon second glance, I suspected it was a person, perhaps an ogre of sorts. But after awhile it occurred to me that it was more than that. It was a mythological creature and one that I didn’t know of, at that time.
From looking at it, I suspected it was borne from Slavic traditions and that it was a tall creature that could possibly be frightening or its origins based through fear. But I didn’t actually know that many (if any) Slavic legends. With about half a second of Google research it was clear this humble image in my coffee was the mythologial creature, Leshy. Click the link to read my post about Leshy.
So, on this day, my coffee was telling me I needed to embrace the aspects and wisdom taught from the legend of Leshy. Eg, let go of internal baggage to help people see you in a better light (the light they inherently want to see you in). All this from a cup of Nespresso!
Have you ever seen any mythological beings in your coffee? Who?
Are soulmates real?
It’s a legitimate question. It’s a common question.
There are a plethora of theories on soulmates and whether soulmates are real. Undoubtedly, one of the most intriguing is that created by Plato in Symposium (385-380 BC), as told via Aristophanes. Plato believed there were three genders; male (which was born from the sun), female (born from Earth) and a hybrid combination of both (born from the moon). This third subset of people had two sets of genitals, arms and legs and a second face. Zeus feared their power (kinda) and thus proceeded to slice these people in half, ‘as if he were cutting an egg in two with a hair.’
Our other half
Since then, we ceaselessly search of our other half. Upon meeting that other half, we throw our arms around one another and become whole again. Or “get intimate”, as humans would have it. ‘And in their brief moments of love making they would be able to return to each other, becoming lost in their symbolical oneness if only for a short while.’
And don’t think that homosexuality (are excluded from this painful yearning: ‘The creatures who had been double women before, naturally sought out women; those who had been androgynous, sought out members of the opposite gender; those who had been double men, sought out the company of men, and not simply for intercourse, but so they could become whole again by being rejoined with their soul mates.’
The most glaring flaw in this theory is that it does not account or include other sexualities besides heteronormativity and (possibly) homosexuality.
This esoteric could be a reason why so many of us scrupulously search and search for our “other half”. Even against all logic, despite all great pain, all great fear and why some cannot rest until it has occurred. Most of us are doomed to spend a solid chunk of eternity, faffing about trying to find the separated part of us and until we do, human supposedly feel that icky incomplete feeling. We desire romance as a salve for the wound.
Soulmates and the belly button
According to this theory, that is why we have a belly button. Zeus chose not to have it healed so we could be reminded of this incident. Like feeling scattered and incomplete was not a reminder enough! Whilst this may not be a healthy view according to modern society (especially for so many of us that are learning to live “just” as a “half”), it has provided me relief in knowing that it’s okay to want a soulmate or partner occasionally. If humankind have been searching since Ancient Greece then most of us may just be more human than we realise.
And so many of us must continue our fruitless search for that ever elusive half. Not just any half but the “right” half (this conflicts epically with my personal beliefs, mind you).
‘The desire to love is synonymous with the desire to transcend the limitations of the ego and the physical body, and thus the desire to transcend death itself…
…By finding a true soul mate, human beings can help one another recover their original, exalted nature, at one with the Universe, as Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.’
Are soulmates real to you? Does this theory work for you?
Need a love tarot reading? Contact me now.
Leshy is a mythological creature from Slavic traditions that comes from the forest. He was a type of terrestrial devil penned in Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (1818).
The trickster energy of this creature means he can appear as a giant but also as tiny as an ant (dependent upon his surroundings). Which is a metaphor for our confidence if we are in familiar surroundings.
Believed to watch over the forest in which he lives, he is known to lead people astray, particularly children. Although he sounds particularly evil with this set of behaviours, he is traditionally deemed more neutral. It’s in your actions that influence his evilness or neutrality. Some days he would steal children. And some days he would become all Robin Hood and steal from the rich to help the poor. It’s plausible to think that the fictionalised version of Robin Hood was even based on this mythology of Leshy. However, it’s more likely that it was the other way around. Since the origins of Robin Hood supposedly predate the written records of a Leshy.
Given the shared characteristics of his wavering temperament and environment he lives in (and guards), he is often deemed a fairy.
Mythology as metaphors
As we know, mythology and legends are storytelling vehicles for metaphors that plague humans (or things with a consciousness) throughout time.
To me, Leshy symbolises how others see you and treat you in the world. Dependent upon which baggage you cling to, or which internal struggles and sins you have yet to forgive yourself for. Still holding guilt for the child you gave up for adoption? The Leshy will lure you into the dark. Still worried about the chocolate bars you stole in high school? The Leshy (in the form of people around you) will reflect back to you that you are nothing but a thief.
Follow the directions of the Leshy and the path will always be clear but dare to go your own or a different way from his directions and trees will be bent to make your path unbearable and difficult.
The Leshy can be neutralised with self forgiveness and a decision to let go, if only a little. Let the Leshy rule the forest and its sacredness and inhabitants in peace.
You may also like… The history of witchcraft.
I’m living between worlds at the moment as a modern witch. Which makes me quite tired. My body swans through this world, this heavy, archaic world.
And my mind is here also but my “other mind” the greater mind, or the mind behind the mind, is all encompassing something that I cannot grab, name or identify. At least not in the space, time, location sense.
This modern witch motherboard dashboard can operate at entire freaky levels – I’m writing and sitting in here this physical, heavy body (both energetically and physically) and there is a fully composed song (although the lyrics dash mercilessly out of my grasp, they fear their own genius too much to be left to the clumsy devices of a pauper like me). This song is a beautiful chart topper, with heart stirring melodic familiarity. And my conscious mind, the smaller mind at the forefront, seems to be scrambling, itching… trying to work out who sings it and where I’ve heard it before. How can I find it on Spotify?
I am half awake. Which makes it difficult, as most of the world’s population know, to exist. Stretching through worlds, no, bigger and better than worlds… are they dimensions? Leaves me confused and ever grasping for what I’m supposed to be doing, knowing, feeling…
This hypnagogic state is often my favourite (when it precedes a deep sleep). It also offers the most mystical insights and experiences. I’ve had the most vivid of auditory hallucinations during this time-space void: fully plotted out movies, orchestral odes, long lost memories and answers to problems de jour. But being in this state when the sun is shiny and the day is floodlit with normalcy is just plain f*cking irritating and debilitating.
Imagine me calling in sick (I don’t need to because I’m a fulltime modern witch but imagine nonetheless) because of “In Between Worlds Syndrome”. Such an irksome affliction.
Soundtrack to today’s mood:
What do you do when you encounter the modern witch affliction?
Read about the history of witchcraft.
Here’s how to do tasseography. Also known as coffee scrying. Firstly, brew your coffee overnight being sure to source ethically traded beans that have been handpicked according to your zodiac sign.
Kidding. I’m a full blown modern witch that lives life in 2019 and am busy as shit. So, as my Nespresso machine heats up, I set an intention as to what I want my coffee to reveal or shed some insight on.
Often, because of the irony of not having had my first coffee yet, I can’t quite cogitate a reasonable request. So, I set an intention of ‘please tell me what I need to know today.’ Which is technically asking for trouble in the form of a full blown mythological story in one cup. Two monsters, one cup, amirite?
Be sure to look for symbols, images, stories, anything meaningful TO YOU in the cup.
To me, the symbols are obvious. Both upon pour in the froth/crème and or when the cup has been drained and there are some coffee stains and residue left at the bottom or around the sides. I continue to hold the same intention as I drink the cup. You might even discover a linear narrative from first symbols to bottom of the cup images – that could be quite the journey and you MUST tell me about it.
It is, in all, a meditative process. And as most traditional tea drinking ceremonies and activities are intended. Furthermore, it works best with white or light coloured cups. What’s more, it works even better if you have a special, sacred mug that only you use.
Traditionally, tasseography used coffee grounds and drained tea leaves (at the bottom of a finished cup) to scry messages and symbols. Which works well too. But I’m not above a loveheart or angel wings appearing in my latte foam.
Technically, this kind of scrying method could be used for hot chocolate, beer and possibly wine. I have been known to scry into people’s gin and tonics at the pub on occasion. Whatever makes you happy, truly.
Although there are many common meanings and universal symbolism in images- think of a loveheart as an example- ultimately, what you see and interpret is entirely personal to you (or the person you are scrying for). Just like doing the tarot or anything other method of divination. If you’re unsure, always pick the most helpful answer or possibility.
The tasseography steps:
- Set intention
- Make coffee
- Look for symbols
- Continue intention whilst drinking
- Review for any final symbols
- Record your symbols
And yes, my fitness instructor-cum-dance teacher totally judges me for having three (four?) coffees a day, I’ll have it known that I DO NOT HAVE MUCH LEFT IN LIFE SO LET ME HAVE MY COFFEE.
I *don’t drink (I’ve had two red wines TOTAL in the past four months). I don’t eat sugar and I don’t smoke. My carbs are mostly restricted to (gulp) let’s just say “not many” grams per day. Plus, I never do drugs and I don’t have late nights. Fresh air is BAE. And I work out five to seven times a week. Let. Me. Have. Something that society deems unhealthy (is it though?).
Are you a fan of tasseography? Send me your coffee pics via Instagram or comments below.
You may like… what is tasseography?
Tasseography is the art of reading tea (and coffee) leaves. This is a form of divination that involves telling one’s fortune by interpreting signs found in coffee grounds, tea leaves and- even- wine sediments. A tasseography witch interprets messages by analysing the shape and configuration of the tea leaves or the sediment left.
Tasseography is considered to be one of the oldest forms of divination in recorded history. Historians believe that this practice began in France (“tasse” is French for cup). But it is impossible to discern an exact point of origin given how old it is.
Who can perform tasseography?
Most people can learn the enjoyable art of reading tea leaves and coffee grounds and become relatively accurate after much practice. But it is believed that those intuitive to divination may produce clearer and better results. Personally, I believe it takes a lot of practise and the willingness to identify the symbols and how they apply. Just like doing tarot. Tasseography is an artform, like most forms of divination and those who take the time to study and practice are more likely to find success.
Although the best known form of tasseography involves reading tea leaves, there are other forms as well. The most popular (and my favourite) uses coffee grounds (or see my tasseography process here) instead. The idea is still the same but while tea was more popular in Asia and Europe, coffee was consumed in the Middle East and North Africa.
Coffee scrying was also popular among Turkish people who began boiling the coffee directly in water as a result of this. Traditionally, the coffee cup is divided into different parts:
- the top half represents the future
- the lower half the past
- the right side is considered positive
- and the left side negative.
The coffee grounds are then interpreted based on what part of the cup they appear.
How does tasseography work?
Those who work with tasseography read the patterns left by the coffee in order to gain insights or answers. The process starts with selecting an appropriate teacup as some cups make the reading easier than others. I use a white mug.
You can read about my tasseography process with Nespresso here. But if you want to play it old school, it’s important to select the right coffee grounds. Most people suggest that fine coffee grounds are the best. Please let me know in the comments if you have a preferred brand.
The next step is obviously making the coffee using loose grounds. Do not strain the coffee when pouring from a coffee machine. Remember to hold your intention strong as you make and pour the coffee. If you don’t have a specific question, just invite the symbols to tell you what you need to know that day or in that moment.
You can also add the grounds directly to the cup and pour hot water if that is easier. After the liquid has been drunk or poured away, the cup is then drained of all liquid and shaken well. The tasseographer can then analyse the pattern of the coffee grounds in the cup to gain insights from the shapes suggested by them.
Next time you drink some tea or coffee try to see what your grounds say about your future before throwing them away.
Read the tasseography posts here. Or check out the list of symbols.