Popular Posts

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Witchcraft Coverns History

Witchcraft Coverns History Cover People have been gathering together for centuries. Wither by practical purpose to survive in the harsh world of the time, or for simple kinship. As within society today, people also gathered together in smaller groups for common purpose. This is true of early pagans around the ancient world.

Covens have been referenced in literature as early as the 12th century. In the Polycraticus, John of Salisbury describes organized groups of witches who carry on at wild sabbats. A story popular in the Middle Ages concerns an event with St. Germain (390-448), in which he encounters villagers preparing a dinner for the "good women who walk about at night" dancing with the spirits.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the existence of covens was taken more seriously. The judges of the inquisition tortured witches into confessions of being part of 13 member covens, and forced them into providing the names of the other participants. The Church believed this would allow them to throw a wide net around these 'criminals'.

The earliest known documented reference (outside of literature) to a coven is from a 1324 witch trial in Kilkenny, Ireland. Dame Alice Kyteler was accused of being part of a 13-member group and was being forced to reveal the other members. Dame Alice refused and was executed for her insolence and being a witch. By the 1700s, the concept of a coven was firmly established in society. But many quickly went under ground and became secret to avoid the persecution of the Church.

Some witches of today claim to be members of covens that date back generations. Sybil Leek's New Forest coven claims to be 800 years old. Some covens may indeed be old, but there is little practical or accepted evidence to indicate that these covens have existed in unbroken lines throughout the centuries. That doesn't mean it's not true, just hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

European witches were and are not, the only pagans to gather in groups. The earliest known records of the Druids come from the 3rd century BC and describe Druid Groves. Formal organizations were also known as Bangors. Both of these were groups of Druid Priests who became teachers, leaders and even judges when necessary of their local communities.

In addition to the Druids, and some say prior to their formalization, there were the Irish Clans. Family groups usually, who were lead by a warrior leader and a spiritual Shaman. This is the basic concept of Celtic Shamanism which is slightly different than the Druidic Order. In these groups, Shamans gathered Together With the Clan for ritual work. At times their workings required them to meet alone without the laymen of the Clan. In these cases, the gathers would consist of at least 3 members if possible. But many Shamans of a Clan worked alone. During special events, Shamans from neighboring Clans would also gather together for spiritual workings.

Across the waters, the Norse also had/have their own coven versions called Kindreds. These groups are formed with members, who the existing practioners would want to be in their own family and extended family. This is how many Kindreds are formed today in Vinland. Today the Asatru Alliance promotes the founding and growth of Kindreds, and that through the pages of their publication, Vor Tru, they reach out to many of the Folk, or people of the Kindreds.

For further details about each of these groups, I'll be adding postings to each section listed on the Witchcraft & Shamanism menu. Stay tuned.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Walter Gibson - Witchcraft A History Of The Black Art
Isaac Bonewits - Witchcraft A Concise Guide
Fransis Bragge - Witchcraft Farther Displayd
Gerald Gardner - Witchcraft Today
Anonymous - Witchcraft Dictionary

Friday, 18 August 2006

The Witches Clan Of Tubal Cain

The Witches Clan Of Tubal Cain Cover The Clan of Tubal Cain was Cochrane’s coven which was active in the 1960s and still exists in a different incarnation within two different lines today. The name came from Bowers’ time as a blacksmith, the practice of which is steeped with folklore. He named his coven after Tubal Cain, the first blacksmith, who is also a masonic deity. They were a robed tradition, practicing rituals mainly outdoors. They observed the Sabbats and Esbats and worshipped the Goddess and God as the ancient powers of nature. Cochrane was enamored with Graves The White Goddess as well as the concept of the Divine King. He was known to his coven members for his love of riddles and mystification of teachings. The tradition usually used a stang instead of an altar; a forked ash staff with an iron nail hammered into the base, decorated with wreaths and crossed arrows for the sabbats. His rituals were unique and effective and have been adapted by many modern traditional witchcraft covens along with his coven’s other practices.

The Birth of 1734

The unique thing about Bowers is that unlike the other witchcraft personalities of the time, he never wrote a single book nor had more than the one coven. He became famous from his letters of correspondence with a young american, Joe Wilson, in the year before his death. From the teachings and religious philosophy within Bowers’ letters and articles, Wilson founded the 1734 Tradition in the United States supplemented with knowledge from both his first craft teacher and Ruth Wynn-Owen of Y Plant Bran. 1734 was founded by Joseph Wilson, and is a separate tradition from Bowers’ own Clan of Tubal Cain. 1734 is a riddle of Cochrane’s, in solving the riddle of the number you will find the name of the Goddess.

Later in his life Wilson started to moved away from 1734 and focused on forming a group, the Toteg Tribe, based on shamanic teachings. Wilson died in August of 2004 and is much missed by the community. The 1734 tradition was continued by Joe’s students and Dave and Ann Finnin who founded The Ancient Keltic Church in California and who travelled to England to meet Evan John Jones.

Suggested free e-books to read:

Michael Ford - The Witch Cult Of Zos Vel Thanatos
Friedrich Adler - The Witchcraft Trial In Moscow

Sunday, 13 August 2006

The Encyclopedia Of Witches Witchcraft And Wicca

The Encyclopedia Of Witches Witchcraft And Wicca Cover

Book: The Encyclopedia Of Witches Witchcraft And Wicca by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

This edition retains the balanced tone and thorough research of the previous two (The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, 1989 and 1999). In more than 480 entries, Paranormal expert Guiley covers both historical witchcraft, such as the Salem witches,Santa Fe witches, and Stamford witches of the seventeenth century, and contemporary issues and concerns. Topics such as different types of witchcraft, fairies, folk magic, the occult, pagan practices, voodoo or vodun, spells, demons, charms, and magic circles are clearly defined. Descriptions of beliefs, and rituals connected to witchcraft, and biographies of individuals, both historical and fictional, living and dead (for example, Aleister Crowley, Morgan le Fay, Margaret Alice Murray, and Starhawk), are included. In addition to updates of contemporary biographies, this edition contains new Wicca-related material, as indicated by the addition of the word Wicca to the title. Short lists of further reading, a number of them updated, follow many of the entries. The lengthy bibliography has been expanded and updated as well. Offering a broader Perspective than many arcane resources on this popular subject, this volume is suited to casual readers and researchers. --Susan Awe --

Buy Rosemary Ellen Guiley's book: The Encyclopedia Of Witches Witchcraft And Wicca

Books in PDF format to read:

John Mitchell - The Philosophy Of Witchcraft
Lawton Winslade - Teen Witches Wiccans And Wanna Blessed Be
George Miller Beard - The Psychology Of The Salem Witchcraft Excitement Of 1692
Robert Ellwood - The Encyclopedia Of World Religions
Rosemary Ellen Guiley - The Encyclopedia Of Witches Witchcraft And Wicca