The Wicca of the Ancient Harmony
Outer Court Training
The Philosophy of Traditional Wicca
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The Philosophy of Traditional Wicca

(The follow article deals very specifically with Traditional-Lineage based Wicca/Witchcraft. It does not apply to general paganism in its myriad of forms: from a simple earth oriented lifestyle, to the more direct theories of animism, to the emergence various of Neo-Pagan and Neo-Wiccan Traditions)

All things evolve. This is the way of Nature. Over the course of the last 15 years or so the number of books being written dealing with the topic of Wicca or Witchcraft has grown exponentially, as has the interest of many people who are considering the system as a viable religious lifestyle for themselves. To a certain degree, Wicca/Witchcraft has become more acceptable within mainstream society. In and of itself, I do not believe this diversity to be a negative thing whatsoever, however, I do feel that there are many books being written on the subject that really are quite erroneous.

We live in a society of immediate need and instant gratification. I think most people would agree with this. This trend has also become a very real aspect within the Neo-Pagan/Neo-Wiccan movement as well. One can simply pick up a book, read it from cover to cover move on to the next and so forth, and in due time have amassed what appears to be a great amount of information concerning Wicca/Witchcraft. While many do provide good solid information concerning the Art- none can make a person Wiccan or a Witch, whatever terminology you choose to use. Traditional Wicca/Witchcraft teaches that only a Witch can make a Witch, or in other words, that Initiation is passed on personally from those who have directly received their 2nd and/or 3rd Degree Initiation from one who has gone before them. It is here that we may come to understand the importance of Lineage or the Line of Initiations within a given Tradition.

There is an important truth in that one must really understand the roots and history of Wicca/Witchcraft if they hope to understand the system in its original form and context. Even today the reality is that much of the system has been fragmented, misinterpreted, and simply lost from what remained of its original roots which stem from the Old World European Tradition. In this context one really does need to study in depth ancient history, the politics of the times, as well as the history which led up to and including the Inquisition. It is also important, to some extent, to read and understand the Malleus Maleficarum (1486ce) as well as the depth and scope of the Papal Bull written by Pope Innocent VIII specifically against Witches and Witchcraft (1484ce). It is true that all things evolve, but it is also true that if one wishes to understand any philosophical system that its beginnings must be learned in so far as is possible and put within some real framework of said evolution.

First and foremost, Wicca/Witchcraft is a Mystery Tradition. It is not unlike the Tantric systems of Hinduism (Shakta/Shakti) and Buddhism (Vajrayana), as well as the system of Qabala. All Mystery Traditions deal with one thing and one thing only- Self-Realization. That is, coming to understand our own inherent Divinity through the nature of the mind. Only through the study of the natural world, the study of one's inner-self, the body of philosophy and symbolism found within both the Book of Shadows, as well as imparted oral Tradition, do we come to slowly understand and embrace and live the full potential of the system we call Wicca/Witchcraft.

Wicca/ Witchcraft has been called by many Wiccan scholars the Tantric philosophy of the West. (However, in this I am not referring to the peculiar Western perception of sexual tantric practice, by any means, whereby the sex act alone is the focus of the practice. This completely sexual connotation is a rather atypical focus that has been removed from a much larger framework of the whole philosophy known as Tantra, in which, sex is most certainly not the main focus. Western culture, in its preoccupation with sex, chooses to focus on this one aspect of an entirely broader mystical system.) To understand Tantra as a philosophical and religious Path we must look to Hinduism. There are many different types of Yogic practice in the Hindu religion. Yet, all are designed to lead the aspirant to the same goal, union with Divinity and ecstasy of the Spirit. Of these various approaches Tantra is but one vehicle. Given that the translation into English of many Eastern concepts is often difficult, we may define the word Tantra in several ways: any of the several Hindu religious writings (8th -13th century); the dialogue between the God Shiva and his Shakti Parvati; the way of action; a treatise, doctrine, rule, theory, or dissertation of a religious nature; a body of work teaching mystical formulae; a loom or specifically the weaving thereof; the leading principle, essential part, or the main feature of everything.

In essence, the Tantric sadhana, or spiritual discipline, is a very carefully woven system designed to make use of all possible experiences and life activities to lead the aspirant's mind to the 'essential goal' or the 'leading principle' which is ultimately Self-realization, illumination on all planes of existence, union with the Divinity; or in the most basic of terms, to experience the ultimate nature of the Universal Mind Itself.

In Eastern Tantric sadhana it is well understood that the results of the practice can only be attained if the aspirant embraces strict self-control as the basis of the discipline. It is also recognized that one also needs a competent teacher fully versed in the Art. Furthermore, the disposition of the aspirant is carefully examined and Tantric doctrine does prescribe specific practice based upon one's evolutionary disposition. It teaches the aspirant to use all of his/her faculties: mind, body, word, and action to come to the realization that the very objects that tempt humans beings (primarily money, food, alcoholic beverages, and sex) are in fact nothing more than various manifestations of the hidden God/dess.

We can now begin to see that all the symbols, words, invocations, teachings, meditations, Initiations, and so forth within the framework of Traditional Witchcraft are nothing more than various means to activate within the Initiate an intimate personal first-hand experience of the Universal Consciousness or the Universal Mind. Wicca/Witchcraft is called a Mystery Tradition for a very good reason, in that it must be experienced at the deepest levels of one's being to attain some semblance of the recognition of this Universal Mind.

It has often been said that Wiccans/Witches worship Nature. This is a false concept in that on the surface Wicca/Witchcraft may appear to be a form of nature worship, but in truth this is only one aspect of a greater metaphysical reality. The concept of Divinity being immanent [to dwell within], in all manifest creation, is not one that most Mystery Traditions deny, yet, as all of us are a part of this physical reality, we too, embody Divinity. Human beings are self-aware but in a very unique way. We have the ability to observe, to deduce, and to perceive patterns and linkages between things, both inner and outer. This ability to train the mind or to change neurological patterning within the framework of a philosophical system, with both its outer and inner teachings, when properly [In a very real sense, this is a form of theurgy.] utilized allows us to understand and transcend our limited and personal self involved ego involvements and attachments. This, in the most simplistic of explanations, is the vehicle and rationale of Self-Realization.

On a personal note, when I first began seriously looking into Wicca/Witchcraft things were very different than they are now. There were very few books written on the subject of Wicca/Witchcraft, and those that were, while giving solid information only presented the outer and most basic concepts of the Art. If one wanted to learn and live the Craft one had to find a High Priest/ess and Coven who would accept you for training. This, in and of itself, was not an easy thing do to as one would have to prove themselves in many ways and many times over. I was fortunate to have studied for over a year with a High Priest in Toronto (who is now living in the USA), who introduced me to the wonderful High Priestess who conducted my training and initiation into the Alexandrian Line. I would later go on to receive training in a neo-Alexandrian group that had some very interesting concepts. This journey has changed my life in more ways than I could begin to put down on paper. Yet, for all the pain and joy, I would not change a single aspect of my life, nor would I change the many mistakes that I have made along this Path as they were invaluable learning lessons. I know, by experience, that the Traditional form of Wicca/Witchcraft does work. But in order for it to do so it must become one's life, in every waking and sleeping moment. And the first lesson I was taught is simple, 'A Witch does, a Witch does not try.' In this context I will also present another statement that is of vital importance 'The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one's whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.' -C. Jung.

It is also well for the 'newcomer' to Wicca/Witchcraft to note that there also exist groups that espouse that redemption or access to the inner mysteries of Wicca/Witchcraft can only be obtained through intimate sexual contact with either the High Priest or High Priestess. This is nothing more than outright sexual exploitation. Traditional Craft teaching clearly states that YOU hold the keys to your own Self-Realization; that it is your own life that you shape and create. A good High Priest/ess will guide you along that Path and will teach you the keys to unlocking the symbolism and inner Mysteries found within the philosophy as well as that to be found within yourself. If they hold any spiritual authority at all, it is simply due to the fact that they have already walked the Path and understand by direct experience- through both Initiation and in their living, the nature of the mind in both its positive and negative functioning. There is no 'redemption' to be found outside of yourself, you will find no 'redeemer' outside of yourself, and no 'saviour' outside of yourself. Such dependent teachings are completely opposed to the philosophy found within Traditional Witchcraft. Any High Priest/ess who sets themselves up in the category of a 'redeemer', in whatever capacity, is simply deluded by their own ego and need for self worth.

Most Traditional Wiccan groups are quite legitimate, but as with everything there can also be found those who use some semblance of the philosophy for nothing more than personal gain, sexual conquest, and as a means of ego gratification. The important choices are ultimately up to the individual who is seeking the Mysteries of Wicca/Witchcraft. However, in that, one ought to be at least somewhat educated in the basic outer philosophy of Wicca/Witchcraft prior to considering joining any group or Coven. If you are looking for the full potential of what Wicca/Witchcraft is capable of providing it will not be an easy road. There are reasons why Traditional Wicca/Witchcraft is guarded and selective about whom they take in their ranks. If you are looking to satisfy deviant sexual activity or ego needs, that can easily be found. One Path does lead to the God/dess in all Her unveiled Universal splendor, the other only to Her earthy illusion.

So now we have come 'round full Circle, as everything does. Today there are many Traditions or denominations of Wicca/Witchcraft and Neo-Wicca. So where does this leave us? The Traditional Lineage-based Coven is the form of Traditional Craft and most do encompass the experience, oral Tradition, and understanding of the core philosophical system of Wicca/Witchcraft, though none can embody or claim to have to whole Truth. To expound such a teaching is simply arrogance. And it is also quite true that not every Wiccan Tradition is meant for every individual as we are all at different states in our evolution and perception. And what of newly formed Traditions or Covens, where there has been no direct line of Initiation or Lineage? This is an interesting subject certainly worth looking at. To quote Dion Fortune from her book Aspects of Occultism, "All gods are one god, and all goddesses are one goddess, and there is one initiator." It has been my experience and observation that when new Traditions and groups are formed, if they are formed upon a solid foundation, and their adherents are sincerely seeking the truths of the Art with their whole being and have not been distracted by matters of personal ego, that eventually they will find them for even our Goddess says: 'If that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.'

From the students beginning their journey into Wicca/Witchcraft, to the Elders who keep the Traditional inner teachings of Lineage, the system is a life-long process that requires complete dedication, self-examination, observation, deduction, the ability to change and accept change in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, and above all, to adhere to one's Highest Ideals with all the ethical, moral, and objective reality this implies. Any serious Mystery Tradition requires these things of the individual who is seeking Divinity. Wicca/Witchcraft is no different. If one chooses to follow the Art then they must embrace the first tenant of its philosophy: 'A Witch does, a Witch does not try, for to try is to fail.'

Brightest Blessings,
Ron Weroski 3*
The Wicca of the Ancient Harmony.

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