Earth
Dance

By Hazel Dunlin

Windflowers by John W. Waterhouse ca. 1903 Home
Introduction
Hazel's Book of Shadows

 Frequently Asked Questions
Further Reading
About Hazel
Email Hazel

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a few common and some unusual (but important) questions I've been asked in reference to Witchcraft and Paganism.  If you have questions about the Craft that are not listed here, feel free to email me.  Don't be afraid to ask questions, someone else may be wanting to know the same thing!

Q.  I'm new to the Craft and I'd like to learn more.  Can you tell me how do I start with Witchcraft and are there any books that you know of?
A.  The best way to start is by educating yourself on all the different aspects of the Craft.  Read all you can find, whether it be through other web sites, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.  There are some other sites listed in the web rings I belong to (viewable at the bottom of the Introduction page) and there are some books and additional sites, which I highly recommend, on my 'Further Reading' page.  You are the only one who can decide if the Craft is right for you and the only way to find out is by doing the research yourself.
Interested in learning the ''Do's and Don'ts'' of Witchcraft?  Check out the site The Witches' Voice.  Their page '
So Ya Wanna be a Witch?' can be very helpful to beginners. 

Q.  Will you teach me Witchcraft or do you know someone who can?
A.  Periodically, I hold classes at Avalon Moon. You can try finding a teacher near you though your local Pagan shop.  If you are unsure of where one might be, check out the site: The Witches' Voice.  They list the locations of Pagan shops from all over the world.  Also, be sure to check out their page on teachers.  It includes some great hints and tips on how to know which teacher is right for you. If you are a minor (under eighteen) and looking for a teacher, be prepared to ask your parents to sign a permission form & meet with the teacher before the teacher will have you as a student.

Q.  I am 13 years old and raised Christian.  I love my parents but they don't want me getting into Witchcraft.  I have been interested in Witchcraft for a long time and I want to learn more.  How can I explain to them that this is what I want to do without them disowning me?
A.  It can be difficult trying to explain to parents when there is so much false negativity surrounding the Craft.  Instead of using the word Witchcraft, use the word Wicca.  Many have never heard of Wicca, so there's no immediate negative reaction like when Witchcraft is mentioned.  Even though many understand there's nothing wrong with Witchcraft, others do not understand that yet.  Let them know it's about respecting and revering Nature, life, and harming none.  Show them some of your favorite web sites including this one, this page and the Preface page of this site.  (The Witches' Voice also has an excellent
FAQ and Witchcraft Basics page to help better understand Pagan spirituality.)  If you can get your hands on Edain McCoy's book ''The Sabbats'', it explains how the holidays originated in various Pagan traditions and what Christianity borrowed from Pagans to create their own holidays.  You can gradually introduce Wicca once in a while by saying something like, ''Hey, guess what I learned today...'' or, ''Did you know...'' be sure you're well informed with the topic you bring up so you can answer any questions they may have (keep your books & web sites handy).  Also, talk with your parents at a time when they're in a light mood and not preoccupied with something else, so they have an open mind and you have their full attention.  Most importantly, be mature.  Keep an open mind to what their wishes are while talking with them will only give you a better chance at achieving your goals than to react negatively towards them if they still refuse your interest in the Craft.  (Crying, yelling at them, stomping off, and slamming doors will prove you're too immature to make important decisions and get you absolutely no where.)  Ultimately, you should respect your parents wishes if you are under the age of eighteen.  Just keep in mind that what your parents say is what they feel is the best for you, whether or not you agree.

Q.  Do Witches work with Satan or the devil?
A.  Absolutely not! 
The devil, or Satan, is a deity most often associated with Christianity and Judaism.  In its early stages, the Christian Church corrupted the male aspect of Nature (commonly depicted as the god Pan) into a negative entity and evil-doer in order to defile the 'Old Religion' and shame those who lived by the Old Ways.  This reinvention gave the Church the ability to oppressively control and scare the general populous, using it as a scapegoat.  Modern day Witches & Wiccans do not honor evil, nor worship anything that would cause intentional harm.  To do so would go against the basic tenant of our faith: "Harm None".  So you see, a true Witch couldn't believe in the devil even if he/ she wanted to!  
Ever hear someone say, ''The devil made me do it.''?  Well, you'll never hear a Witch say that.  We have no such deity, nor a need for one.  As Witches, we take responsibility for our own actions and do not look for someone or something to blame our wrongs on.  When we do something wrong, it is almost always unintentional and we do everything we can to correct that wrong.  Our religion is based on light and love, harming none, and doing all we can to help those in need.

Q.  If you don't believe in the devil or Satan, why do you use the sign of the devil, the pentagram?
A.  The pentagram, or pentacle, is not a sign of the devil and is not an evil symbol.  The myth that it is the sign of the devil was brought on by the Christian church and Hollywood.  The Pentacle is actually an ancient symbol dating back tens of thousands of years. It has been used to venerate the Goddess Venus and to represent that planet's five positions in the sky. It also has correlations to the ratios of the human body. In Wicca, the five points of the star represent the Elementals.  The four lower points denote the Elementals of Earth, Fire, Air and Water with the fifth, top-most point signifying the Spirit, or the Divine, the force that brings the four Elementals together and creates life.  The circle (often seen around the pentacle) symbolizes wholeness, protection and the unending cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.  At an early point in Christianity's history, this symbol was even adopted by the Church to represent the five wounds of Christ and to show a similarity between the 'Old Religion' and the 'New Religion'.  When the Church couldn't sever the ties of this symbol from the Old Ways, they abandoned then degraded it.  The five-pointed star is now the acknowledged symbol of Earth-based religions.  To turn this symbol up-side down reflects the belief that materialism is more important than spirituality and is often considered a sacrilege, just as is turning the Christian cross up-side down.

Q.  Will I go to Hell for practicing Witchcraft?
A.  No.  You will not go to hell for practicing Witchcraft.  Paganism is not evil, wrong, or to go against God.  Many Witches don't believe in such a place. Hell is of the Christian religion used as a tactic to prevent followers from doing wrong or going against their ways.  As Witches, we believe what we send out will return to us.  This is enough of a warning for us to do no harm without the threat of our afterlife being one of everlasting turmoil and pain.  The Threefold Law ensures we pay for our wrong-doings now, not later.

Q.  Do Witches believe in God?
 
A.  Yes.  We believe in God - the Supreme Being, the Creator, the Divine. But, we believe that this Divine Being is not just male (as in some religions), but female as well! They are equals, none above the other.

Q.  How do I know if I'm a Witch?
A.  Witches have a natural connection to Nature.  We feel we are a part of Nature. Not some supreme being who owns the planet and can do whatever they wish with no regard to the other living creatures on this Earth. A Witch reveres all life and will take a stand to protect the environment and the creatures within it.  We work with Nature to bring about needed changes in our lives - harming none, instead of trying to work against Nature or destroying it.  Do you have a strong connection to Nature?  Do you seriously respect and honor Nature?  Does 'harm none' really have meaning to you?  When you first read the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law, did you feel a connection to their messages?  Then, MAYBE you are a Witch. Though these things in themselves do not automatically make one a Witch. The only way to know for sure is to learn about Witchcraft.  Learning more is the only way for you to ever know.  No one is going to do this for you.  If you're seriously considering Witchcraft as your religion, show you're serious by getting to work on your studies.
  My 'Further Reading' page is a good place to start when looking for books on Witchcraft.

Q.  Can someone be born a Witch?
A.  Yes.  When someone comes across the true meaning of Paganism or Witchcraft and recognizes it as what they have always felt in their soul as their true religion, usually the exclamation arises, ''I didn't know that what I've always felt in my heart as my religion actually had a name and was recognized!''  This 'coming home' feeling is considered by many being born a Witch.  Also, an individual can be born a Witch by being born into a family that practices Witchcraft.  But as with any religion, the belief system of that religion must be practiced and believed in in order for one to maintain the title of Witch, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, etc. 

Q.  Can I be a Witch and still be Catholic/Christian?
A.  This is a very controversial question.  One better left answered by the person asking, once more educated on the history of Christianity & Witchcraft. Christianity was built on the foundations of Paganism and their holidays are Pagan in origin. There are practitioners who blend the two religions nicely.  I suggest you keep reading and learning, then decide the path you want to follow.  Initially, many who are drawn to Paganism don't want to let go of Christianity because they fear they may be 'turning from God'.  Please, don't let this be the only reason why you feel a need to be both.  As mentioned earlier, Pagans do believe in God, the difference being that God, the Creator, can be viewed as male and female together.

Q.  Aren't women called Witches and men called Warlocks?
A.  No.  Men and women are both called Witches.  Warlock is an ancient Scottish word.  Roughly translated, it means - oath breaker, a liar, or someone who cannot be trusted (quite insulting).  So, I'd suggest refraining from using it in the company of Witches.

Q.  I'm a little confused.  What's the difference between Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft?
A.  The word Pagan means country dweller or one who lives with Nature.  Anyone who practices a Nature-based religion is a Pagan.  This includes Wicca and Witchcraft.  All Wiccans and Witches are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccan or Witches.  The belief systems of Native Americans and Ancient Egyptians are also Pagan.  As for the difference between Wicca and Witchcraft, Traditional Wicca is based on the teachings of Gerald Gardner
and usually is coven oriented and works with a 'degree system' leading from initiate to High Priest/ess.  Knowledge within a Traditional Wiccan coven is passed down (taught) by the High Priest/esses.  Witchcraft does not include a degree system and no titles are used such as High Priest or Priestess.  Witchcraft can be practiced within a coven or as a solitary. Below are two charts, similar to family trees, to show the relationship between different religions. These tables are just a general summary. Religions named are in no particular order. Kindly, keep in mind that I do not respond to anyone initiating an aggressive or malicious conversation in regards to the superiority of one religion over another. In my opinion, all religions are equals, so long as they show beneficence. For more information on the religions of the world, see the reputable website: http://www.ReligiousTolerance.org/

Just a few Pagan religions:

Native American Hinduism
(Indian)
Shinto (Japanese) Ancient
Egyptian
Wicca Witchcraft Odinism
(Norse)

 

Just a few Christian religions:

Roman Catholic Protestant Presbyterian Baptist Lutheran

Q.  What exactly is a spell and can you send me some easy ones?
A.  A spell is just like a prayer.  It's to work in harmony with Nature to bring about changes.  Spells should be crafted for specific reasons by the individual who plans on working them. Spells are not a game and they should never be used to try to make someone do something they normally wouldn't do on their own.  There is no such thing as an easy spell.  Spell casting is work.  If your concentration and effort are not put into your work, you won't get the results you expect.
To all spell-seekers. . .There are few practical spells listed on the Spells & Chants page (follow the link in the Book of Shadows). Do yourself (and others) a favor, take the time to educate yourself on spell crafting. Please, do not contact me asking: ''Can you send me a spell for {fill in the blank}?'' or ''Send me all spells you know!''  Every spell takes effort - not just in working them but also in creating them.  Spells need to be created specifically for an individual need by someone who's involved in the situation. So please, do your homework and don't be afraid to ask for advice when Crafting.
"
Thee only gets what thou does earn."

Q.  Do all my spells have to be done in a circle?
A.  Yes and no. 
The "Yes" answers are...
In ancient times, Ceremonial Magic required, among many other precise steps, that a circle be cast to protect the magician from outside negativity and to control the spirits, or energies, they called on. This was enfolded into Wicca, though most modern practitioners don't realize where it came from.
The circle is a sphere, like a bubble, with you inside.  (The circle on the ground around you is where your sphere touches the surface you're standing on.)  Your magick is worked within the sphere and builds up it's strength as you focus on your need until it's complete and you're ready to release it by opening the circle.  When you are finished and the circle is opened, the energy you raised is released as a whole into the Universe where your spell starts working to alter events so your ''wish'' can ''come true''. 
The "No" answers are... On the other hand, some circumstances don't give you the time needed to set up your altar and ritual items to cast your spell.  Perhaps you're in a hurry to get somewhere, maybe it's an emergency.  'Wishing' for your travel to be quick and smooth-going is considered doing a spell. To focus on an open parking spot close to an entrance because you're late would be another example.

Q.  I was invited to a coven once, and before we went to the circle we had to cut the palm of our hand.  Is that necessary?  Is that right?
A.  Absolutely not!  This is not normal!  Nor is it safe, considering all the diseases that exist in the world today.  There is no reason, what so ever, for you to have to cut yourself!  That totally goes against the Rede's ''Harm None, Do What You Will'', that includes yourself, as well as others.  Never let anyone make you do something you are uneasy with, no matter who they say they are!  If you're ever in a situation you no longer want to be a part of, leave.

Q.  Are there any Witches or Pagan groups near me and what about shops to get supplies?
A. 
To find other Witches, Pagans and groups in your area, here's a couple of sites I recommend trying:  The Witches' Voice has pages of Witches from all over the world, Covens/ Groups, and even Teenage Pagan contacts.  Also try the site: MeetUp.com.  Type in 'witches' or 'pagan' in the search box on the Meetup.com home page and then choose a city near you.  You should be able to find someone or a group at one of these sites:)  Just please be careful if you do decide to meet any one or group in person!  You never know who you're really meeting - always let someone else know where you're going, never go alone and always make your meeting in a public place.  And don't let them make you do anything you feel is not right, regardless of who they say they are, how long they've been practicing, or what titles they have.  Just use caution and common sense.  Many of the Pagans and Witches you meet will be wonderful people, but there are the fair share who say they are what they're not. 
Witchcraft supplies are available from your local shops and on-line
shops, including mine, Avalon Moon, Inc.  The Witches' Voice has listings for both On-line Pagan Shops and Local Pagan ShopsLocal shops can also direct you to individuals and groups/ covens in your area.  

Q.  I have a problem in your saying that real Witches don't do bad things.  We are human.  Some do indeed commit terrible acts.  It's the same as saying that because a person is Christian, that person can't kill or covet something because their ten commandments forbid it.  
A.  You are right, we are human and we do make mistakes.  But, anyone who would commit a terrible act intentionally has no business calling themselves a Witch, nor Christian for that matter.  Intentionally break the rules/ laws of a faith and you are not of that faith.

For more answers about Witchcraft,
visit the site The Witches' Voice
here
or email Hazel here.

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