invisible Sorting out the Pagan Traditions

If you're just starting down the Pagan path, or even if you've been on it for years, the preponderance of different traditions can be overwhelming and just downright confusing at times. What I've tried to do here is list some of the many different Pagan Traditions that are out there. I've tried to give a brief description and included links to sites that I felt would help further your understanding of that particular path. Remember all paths lead to the One, the way of getting there isn't as important as the journey itself.

Before we get into the specific Pagan paths, lets take a moment to discuss what being Pagan really means. I belong to several mailing lists and this discussion has come up on every one of them at one time or another. The definition of paganism varies from one individual to the next but the one description that most everyone can agree with is that a pagan is a person who follows one of the Earth religions. Many of those asked will state that paganism is the revival of the beliefs of our pre-christian ancestors. It is the belief that Nature is sacred and the Earth is our Mother. The term 'pagan' originally comes from the Latin word pagani, meaning 'country dweller', or 'people of the land'.


The dictionary gives us this definition:
pa•gan

(pA'gun),
-n.
1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2. a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
3. an irreligious or hedonistic person.

-adj.
1. pertaining to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.
2. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of pagans.
3. irreligious or hedonistic.

Well, I think that pretty well sets us up to look at some of the various Pagan Traditions prevelent in the world today. The listing on this page is by no means complete, but I feel I've included the Traditions that have the most impact on the Pagan world, especially the Pagan Cyber World. Following each description I've included web addresses where you can learn more if you are so inclined. If I've left anything out, my apologies, please e-mail me and let me know what I missed or if I made a mistake let me know where and how. This page is the culmination of many, many hours spent surfing the Web and reading lots of books! I welcome your comments.

Traditions HR

invisible Pagan Table of Contents
Traditions HR

invisible Pagan LinksHere are a few of the best sites out there dealing with basic paganism.

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PaganPath.com - http://www.paganpath.com/

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Paganism - Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Canopy/2178
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The EarthSpirit Community - http://www.earthspirit.com/

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A Mystickal Grove - Earth Spirituality Resources - http://www.amysticalgrove.com/index2_1.html

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Traditions HR

invisible asatru "Some Odinists consider themselves to be Ásatrú, while others do not, nor are all Ásatrúar Odinists. Ásatrú is a polytheistic religion and the gods and/or goddesses that one chooses to worship or dedicate to among the Elder gods is a matter of individual choice and conscience. Odinism is included in the presentation of Ásatrú although not considered to be exactly the same thing. Heathen is another term that you will come across and refers to religious groups which are based on Northern European pre-Christian Pagan beliefs while Paganism is an even more general term. "

"Asatru is the modern rebirth of the pre-Christian indigenous faith of the Norse peoples -- the ancestors of the Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, and Icelanders. This faith honored many Gods and Godesses, some of whose names are still familiar to us today, such as Thor, Odin and Freyja. The indigenous faith of Scandinavia, upon which Asatru is based, fell into shadow after the year 1100, with the advent of Christianity in Northern Europe. The modern Asatru faith practiced by Gladsheim is part of a revival which began in 1973, when the Asatru Free Assembly was founded in the United States. The same year, Asatru was granted official recognition in Iceland, becoming the second recognized faith in that country, alongside the Lutheran Church."
Taken from the Irminsul Aettir Asatru Page


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Raven Kindred of the Asatru Alliance - http://www.asatru.org/

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The Asatru Archive - http://www.lysator.liu.se/religion/neopagan/asatru.html

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Traditions HR

invisible Celtic TraditionalismThis may not be a familiar term to many people, it consists of trying to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of the original Celtic people, as opposed to Druidic learnings, this tradition focuses more on the beliefs of the average Celtic man or woman. See Celtic Reconstructionism.

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Celtic Religion; what information do we really have? - http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a8700035/celtreli.html

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The Roebuck: http://members.aol.com/akcroebuck/index.html - The Ancient Keltic Church is a religious organization dedicated to the rediscovery and revival of the pagan mystery faith of the ancient Celtic peoples, and the incorporation of this ancient faith into modern 20th century America. It was founded in 1976 by Ann and David Finnin as an experimental group called The Roebuck.
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The Clan of Tubal Cain - http://members.aol.com/CTubalCain/ - "The Root Tradition of the Ancient Keltic Church"

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Traditions HR

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Ceremonial Magic
"Followers of this Tradition uses a great deal of ceremonial magick in their practices. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magick are sometimes a favorite, or they may use the Quabbalistic magick"
(From "To Ride a Silver Broomstick")

Ceremonial Magick is often linked to Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn

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The Western Mystery Tradition - http://www.lightmatrix.org/Pagan_World/Ceremonial_Magic.html

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Cermonial Magick; Magick Squares, Sigils and Planetary Seals - http://www.triplemoon.com/sigils.html

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An Introduction to Ceremonial Magick - http://www.ecauldron.com/cmagick00.html

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Living With Magick - Ceremonial Magick Resources
http://www.livingwithmagick.com/CMhome.html


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invisible Church of All Worlds (CAW) Founded in 1962, and legally incorporated in 1968, CAW has a good claim on being the oldest legally incorporated Neo-Pagan organization in American. Taking much of its early inspiration from Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, CAW now sees its mission as evolving "a network of information, mythology, and experience to awaken the divine within and to provide a context and stimulus for reawakening Gaia," and to create a tribal community that will be dedicated to the responsible stewardship of the Earth and evolution of consciousness. The Church of All Worlds is dedicated to "healing the separation between mind and body, men and women, civilazation and Nature, Heaven and Earth." It presents public rituals, festivals, and other events, and there are more than fifty local CAW chapters or "nests". It also publishes Green Egg, runs a teaching branch, Lifeways, and ecology branch, Forever Forests, and a research branch, The Ecosophical Research Association, which investigates myth and legend and how they relate to today's world.
Send SASE for more information.
Address: Church of All Worlds
P.O. Box 488
Laytonville, CA 95454
e-mail: cawnemeton@aol.com

The Official Website of the Church of All Worlds - http://www.caw.org/

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Traditions HR

invisible Discordianism/Erisian*The Discordian or Erisian movement is described as a 'Non- Prophet Irreligious Disorganization' and has claimed 'The Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated put-on. " It all started with the *'Principia Discordia, or How I Found the Goddess and What I Did to Her When I Found Her'*, a collection of articles and ideas compiled by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Young-er). The central theme is 'Chaos is every bit as important as Order' as illustrated in the story of The curse of Greyface:

*Humor is central to Discordianism, but Discordianism should not be dismissed as a joke. Profound experiences frequently accompany the practice or Erisinaism. It is a perceptual game, one which demonstrates that the absurd is just as valid as the mundane and chaos is just as valid as order. It frees the practitioner from the order games (that most have forgotten are games) to play games with order or games with chaos, or both. The effects of Discordianism upon an individual can be far- reaching and amazingly liberating
Taken from the Undernet #wicca Page

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"Discordianism may, or may not, be a religion. It has a book and a set of rules, and could be treated as a way of spiritual guidance, but for many people it's a reason to use a silly psuedonym and put a lot of weird stuff on the Web. For some people, these two definitions are not contradictory. "
"Discordia" and "Eris" both relate to the Greco-Roman goddess of Chaos, who left a golden apple with the inscription "To the Prettiest" in Olympus. This began an argument that eventually caused the Trojan War.
The foundation of Discordianism is the Principia Discordia. "
(taken from: http://www.itd.umich.edu/~ximenez/discordian.html - Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia! website which has since disappeared.

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What is a Discordian? - http://www.discordia.org/~keeper/discordian.html

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Celtic Connection: http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wiccas.htm

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Traditions HR

invisible Egyptian/IsianThe following web sites all have one thing in common, they are all trying in their own way to resurrect the Ancient Egyptian Religion in one form or another. If you have an interest in Egyptian art and myth, or are simply fascinated with all things Egyptian (as I am) be sure to check the following sites out.

Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism, or the worship of many deities, except for during the reign of Akenaton. The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses. Some, such as Amun, were worshipped throughout the whole country, while others had only a local following. Often gods and goddesses were represented as part human and part animal.

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Guardian's Egypt - http://guardians.net/egypt/index.html

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Beloved Netjer - http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/7713/index.html

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Modern Egyptian Influenced Religions - http://www.vocis.com/egypt/egyptpap.htm

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Egyptian Book of the Dead - http://www.lysator.liu.se/~drokk/BoD/toc.html

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The Name of Bast - http://www.dm.net/~steph/bastframe.htm

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Ancient Egyptian Virtual Temple - http://www.netins.net/showcase/ankh/
Akhet Home Page Index: "This is the official web site of Akhet, a Temple of Ancient Egyptian Religion. The pages listed here give information about the religion and culture of Ancient Egypt, Akhet as both a temple and school, as well as listing some of the many services offered by Akhet." http://www.bit-net.com/~heru/

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The House of Netjer (known before 1993 as the House of Bast), a Kemetic Orthodox temple, was founded in the late 1980s in Chicago, Illinois. We are dedicated to the restoration of the authentic ancient Egyptian religion, through the study of source texts and Egyptological research. http://www.kemet.org/

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Church of the Eternal Source: http://members.aol.com/amanitae/ces/ - "The Church of the Eternal Source is a federation of Egyptian temples. Each Priestess and Priest maintains services to, and supervises the initiatory procedures to the Goddess or God she or he serves and the Goddesses and Gods in general. As such, the Church offers a multiplicity of paths to Goddess and God experience."
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The Pyramidal Chasm: http://www.angelfire.com/hi/saosis/

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The House of Isis and Osiris: http://www.compulink.co.uk/~zonko/thoiao.htm

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Akhentef's World: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/3713/

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Traditions HR

invisible GnosticismSome may question my inclusion of Gnosticism as a Pagan Tradition, but in truth it's tenets align more with the Pagan path than the Christian one. At least that's how it seems to me. I may be wrong but this is my page so...

"Gnosticism is a concept of spiritual experience which has its roots in many religious practices and is not restricted to Christianity. It is also found in the Kabbalah of Judaism, the philosophy of NeoPlatonism, and in modern Iraq a small sect of peasants called Mandaeans (their word for 'knowers') still survives today. It is a belief system which considers the 'spiritual' world to be the real world and this material world but a product of the negative use of that spirituality. This is an obvious oversimplification and I ask your kind indulgence. Approach it openly and perhaps you will find your viewpoints amazingly expanded" (Taken from The Ancient Spiritual Pathways Page - http://www.dragonswing.net/ancient.htm)

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"The word "gnosis" is derived from the Greek language, and means "knowledge of an intuitive nature; the intuitive comprehension of spiritual truths." Gnosis is a knowledge that cannot be arrived at through books or lectures, but rather through one's own direct experience of reality. Gnosis is often referred to as knowledge of the heart, in contrast to knowledge that is obtained through the use of the intellect.

The Gnostic teachings contain systems and exercises through which every aspect of the teachings can be personally verified by each individual. Gnosis is not just theoretical, but one hundred percent practical. Through direct experience we surpass the boundaries of belief and disbelief, since both lead to ignorance. Rather than believing or disbelieving, accepting or rejecting, the Gnostic personally verifies in a direct manner the validity of the concepts he or she is studying. This personal verification leads to true knowledge and comprehension, not merely an intellectual or theoretical understanding of the teachings. Through Gnosis one personally learns to experience reality directly, quell the battle between doubt and belief, and comes to KNOW the inner TRUTH."
(Taken from the Gnostic Center Home Page)

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About.com page for Gnosticism - http://altreligion.about.com/cs/gnostic/index.htm

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The Gnostic Pagan Tradition

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The Gnosis Archive - http://www.gnosis.org/

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Gnostic.Org - http://www.gnostic.org/orgcontents.htm

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Gnosis Magazine; The Journal of the Western Inner Traditions - http://www.lumen.org/

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Traditions HR

invisible Golden Dawn
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: http://www.hermeticgoldendawn.org/index.shtml
"The Golden Dawn system of magic is not a religion, although religious imagery and spiritual concepts play an important role in its work. The Golden Dawn was designed by its founders to be an Hermetic Society dedicated to the philosophical, spiritual, and psychic evolution of humanity. It was also designed to be a school and a repository of knowledge, where students learned the principles of occult science and the various elements of western philosophy and magic. Tolerance for all religious beliefs was stressed, and symbolism used within the G:.D:. came from a variety of religious sources. Today, people from many diverse religious paths consider themselves practicing Golden Dawn magicians--including Neopagans, Gnostics, Jews, and Christians." (taken directly from site)


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invisible NROOGD  The New Reformed Orthodox Order Of The Golden Dawn is a Wiccan tradition that began 1967 with a group of friends who were students at San Francisco State College. They were given an assignment to created and perform a ritual, and they decided to perform a Witches' Sabbat using the printed sources available at the time, primarily Robert Graves, Margaret Murray, and Gerald Gardner. After doing the ritual several times and feeling the effects of it, they decided to create NROOGD. The name is a play on the attitudes they had toward what they were doing and upon their spiritual antecedents. The tradition worships a triple-aspect Goddess and various forms of the God derived from ancient Greek and British mythology. Covens are autonomous, but share a common liturgy and recognize one another's initiates. There is no central authority nor spokesperson for the tradition.

NGOORD Home Page: http://www.nroogd.org/ There are covens currently active in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as several in the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast. Covens in the Bay area cooperate to host open sabbats, as well as in-gathering for initiates every six months.

The Order publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Witches Trine.
Website: http://www.conjure.com/TRINE/trine.html

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invisible Greco-Roman Traditions
"Hellenic Neopagans worship the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome. Although some followers are Greek or of Greek descent, many come from other ethnic backgrounds, yet all consider themselves Hellenic (or Graeco-Roman) Neopagans."
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Omphalos: http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/OM/index.html

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Nova Roma; dedicated to the restoration of traditional Roman culture, religion and virtues: http://www.novaroma.org/

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invisible Green Witchcraft"The central Green element of all Craft expression is the Goddess as undying, threefold, and associated with the earth, the moon, and the living (sacred) waters, and the God as undying, threefold, and associated with the earth, the sun, and the sky. As God of grain and solar phases, he is also the willing sacrifice who "dies"and is "reborn" in the Goddess in the yearly cycle of the seasons. God the Gatherer, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is that concept of the Trinity dating back some 30,000 years to Shiva as the Threefold God. He is both the seed and the eternal energy of life.

'Green' is a somewhat generic term for the elements that can be found in herbal, natural, traditional, or family traditional Witchcraft, and it has great flexibility and variety. The Green elements can be adapted to those Ceremonial aspects you find appealing, and it forms the foundationlevel of the Odinist tradition (which is very restrictive on what elements are acceptable - Kabbalah and Tarot not being used, as an example.) The key to the Green Facet of Withccraft is to be attuned to nature and the natural forces surrounding you."
(Taken from "Green Witchcraft" by Ann Moura (Aoumiel)


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Wyldewoode Grove: http://expage.com/page/wyldewoode

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Jani Farrell-Roberts (author and green witch): http://www.gn.apc.org/inquirer/

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Verbena Botanica - http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/Atrium/8493/merrymeet.html

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Traditions HR

invisible HedgeWitch A hedgewitch is one that follows in the footsteps of the old village wisewoman. Not following any one path in particular but incorporating many and understanding that each must find his/her own way. She is a healer, a counselor, a shaman, and witch all rolled into one as the need arises. A hedgewitch is solitary by nature and generally does not belong to any particular coven or group, though she may participate in public gatherings and rituals, she practices alone.


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The Hedge Path of Soraya's Witches' Thicket - http://www.cros.net/soraya/path.htm

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Pagan Traditions: Hedgewitches / Solitary Witches
An introduction to the practises of Hedgewitches


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What is a hedgewitch? (Paganlore.com)

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invisible Kitchen Witch"You will hear this term every once in a while. Basically, this type is one who practices by hearth and home, dealing with the practical side of religion, magick, the earth, and the elements. There are some who groan loudly at this type of terminology, viewing it as degrading or simply inappropriate. Just remember that the Old Religion started somewhere, and most likely the kitchen (or cookfire) was the hub of many charms, spells, healings, and celebrations. After all, where does everyone congregate during the holidays? Grandma's kitchen has always produced magickal memories for humanity; visions of Mother making that something special for a sick child still holds true today for many of us."
(Taken from "To Ride a Silver BroomStick" by Silver RavenWolf)


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Starlite's Kitchen - http://members.tripod.com/~Starlt/index.html

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Candleberry Cottage - http://hometown.aol.com/Kyrene/index.html

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Cyn's Moon - http://www.cynsmoon.com/

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Whichypoo's Kitchen Brews - http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Hollow/7201/

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invisible Stregharia"Stregheria is the Craft of the Italian Witches. It's an ancient system, steeped with history that dates back to the 14th century. We are the descendants of an ancient people who used moonlore, nature, symbolisms, and Spirits (Faery) to work their magick. Stregheria resembles Wicca in that both systems are Goddess based. Both Stregheria and many Wiccan traditions accept the duality of both a female and male God. In Stregheria the Goddess is known as Tana and the God as Tanus. Diane and Dianus represent the Moon goddess and god respectively. Many of the Goddesses and Gods are known by different names in different traditions. Stregheria and Wicca celebrate many of the same rites or Festivals even though the names are not the same and sometimes they occur on a slightly diffferent date.

(The reference to the 14th Century is a reference to the teachings of Aradia and to the Stregheria tradition. It is not meant to say that Stregheria is a product of the 14th Century or that all Streghe in Italy follow the same tradition founded by Aradia in the 14th Century. Stregheria in Italy goes back way before pre-christian times and there are many Streghe in Italy and the US who follow traditions that have nothing to do with Aradia de Toscano. Stregheria has many differences from Wicca. Their festa's for example follow a slightly different mythos from that of Wicca.)

The Watchers called Grigori, are called to guard the ritual circle and to witness the ritual. Strega also recognizes a third person, Aradia. She came to be known as the Holy Strega, a spiritual teacher and wise woman. The message of Aradia, called the Covenant, offered her followers the path to freedom and personal empowerment. Aradia also taught that the traditional powers of a witch would belong to any who adhered to the way of the Old Religion. Aradia called these Gifts and Beliefs. The Charge of Aradia is the message she left her followers.
(Aradia was their teacher and the founder of the Triad Clans of Italy. There are many Streghe in Italy who are not of the Triad Clans and do not follow the teachings of Aradia.)"
{Thank you to Fabrisia for submitting the Stregheria Section.}

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Stregheria, the website of author Raven Grimassi - http://www.stregheria.com/

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Fabrisia's Broschetto (Fabulous Page!!): www.fabrisia.com

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Pandora's Silvery Web: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/7159/start.html

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invisible Wicca"pronounced "wick-ah", is a modern religion, based upon the ancient Western European, pre-Christian shamanic traditions. It is fertility, earth-based and nature oriented; Wiccans recognize and worship during the change of the seasons and the full and new moons. Wicca is a pagan religion, which means it is not Judeo-Christian in origin. Pagan simply means "not of the city" or "country-dweller" and should not be thought of as a negative term.

Wicca is unique in that it has no dogmas, docterines or set of rules. This can be confusing for new practitioners, because Wiccan practices are derived from within, are personal and individual and are not mandated by any one person, hierarchy, or "Bible". Many people brought up in an organized religion are not used to such an open and free belief system. It takes time to become comfortable in developing your religious practices from your personal experiences and knowledge, but therein lies the beauty of Wicca. Individuality is an honored trait for Wiccans, therefore, Wicca is not a "cohesive" religion. One can practice either with a coven or as a solitary, and they can worship in their own individual way. Also, some people who belong to covens may branch out and form their own coven. This is totally acceptable and it allows for a greater sharing of beliefs and of the establishment of new ideas and practices. Although Wiccan practices are unique to the individual or coven, most Wiccans have more in common with other Wiccans than they do differences.

Wiccans live, worship and celebrate by the changing seasons and lunar cycles. The year is cyclical, it is like a wheel, revolving from season to season and year to year, hence the name "Wheel of the Year". Every year, there are eight Wiccan "holidays" known as Sabbats and there are 12 - 13 Esbats "lunar holy days" consisting of the new and full moons."


Here are a few basic Wiccan websites, for a more in depth exploration of the various Wiccan Traditions please visit my "Wiccan Traditions" page.

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Wicca; A Group Profile - http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~jkh8x/soc257/nrms/wicca.html

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Undernet #wicca HomePage - http://www.pagans.org/wicca/index.html

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What is Wicca; Celtic Connection - http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm

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invisible WitchcraftMost Wiccans call themselves Witches but not all Witches practice Wicca. There are many, many witches who consider Witchcraft and Wicca to be totally separate religions.
"Witchcraft is a broad term used to describe many faiths. Also known as "wise craft" or "craft of the wise", Witchcraft is a peaceful, nature-based faith or path. Practitioners of Witchcraft or "witches" are often accused of devil worship due to the prevalence of misconceptions within the general public."

"The witch was usually a midwife, healer, herbalist and/or wise-woman or man who fashioned their way of living around nature and the seasons. Most witches were skilled in the use of herbs and were quite adept at healing those that were ill. Today, modern witches seek the vast knowledge of the ancient wise women and men to return to a nature-focused way of life. "

[Above taken from Witch Wisdom - http://witchcraft.simplenet.com/ (unfortunately this site no longer appears to be in existence]

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A Witch's Cauldron - http://www.pathcom.com/~newmoon/Homepage.htm

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Witches' League for Public Awareness - http://www.celticcrow.com/

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