Alex Sanders Lectures Paperback – 1 Jun 1984
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The first chapter discusses Wicca and the Horned Gods. Remember that most of what is written about the old religion was transcribed by Christian sources which were often hostile to the old religion. Wicca meant originally a sage or wise person. Wicca Craft was translated into Wise Craft. As time passed the meaning got corrupted into Witchcraft. In Europe, most notably in Southern France, Cave de Trois Freres there was an illustration of a horned man in shamanic ecstasy. In Dordgne, also in France another painting showed a horned man surrounded by 12 followers dancing in a circle. Horned Deities were all over the place. In Egypt Ra and Osiris were depicted as wearing horns, as were deities in Mesopotamia. In India, the pre Hindu, God Pasaputi was seen as King of the animals. Pasaputi seems to be the forerunner of Shiva and the Continental European God Cernunnos. Through out the history of the old ways selected priests and priestesses who embodied deity have died after a certain period of years usually after seven or nine years. This was to prevent the Deity from aging along with the body. The Wicca did not die out with Christianity rather the practice remained hidden.
Symbolism is everything to the modern Wicca. The circle is a space created to raise the energy produced by the body and then release it to the universe . But to cast a circle one must be knowledgeable of certain truth. Deity exists both within and without the human being. The "Star Of David" has it's own mythology. An upward facing triangle represented the "Council of Light". Much of their practices were benign and geared towards spiritual attainment. "The Council of Darkness " was represented by a downward facing black triangle. The Dark Council practiced blood rites and sex rites. It was prior to the flood that they combined these two triangle in the six pointed star.The teaching were combined in order to be spared.
Atlantis is key to Alex Sanders mythology. The Island continent was host to a civilization of spiritually advanced people. They worshiped the Morrigan who was represented by the moon. The Earth also represented the Goddess.The Sun was the male God. It was for the misuse of magic and enslaving the younger races that the continent was destroyed. Select people were given the right to live and spread the teaching. Morgan, King Arthur's sister, could be seen as a representative as well could Merlin be seen. Merlin was the one who trained Arthur by taking him beneath the sea and teaching him. Once Merlin achieved his purpose Lady of the Lake, Vivien seduced him and tricked him of his power. He now reside in Summer land.
The witch has several weapons. Of note is the black handled Athame used to direct the witch's power. A new initiate will procure on of these along with three unused tassels colored ,red,white and blue . They have sacred purposes. There is also the white handled knife used for making amulet with in the circle. An amulet or talisman is not fully empowered of just regularly made outside the circle as curio. Wands and other tool are mentioned as well.
When the witch is admitted into the coven it is then and only then that they are declared witches . It is after their initiation that they receive their training in a specialized field. Some work with clairvoyance, other healing. After a period of two to three years the witch is promoted to the second degree but they must first prove their ability.
The book has a nice little section of herbs describing what they are used for medically. There is some reference to magical uses but mostly medical. The book of shadows is also described as the Witch's bible. Like all books it has been altered with parts added and subtracted over the years. The witch copied it by hand. In the old the old days they were supposed to remember it by heart in case they were caught and had to destroy it. A word of note is that even the Witch father, Alex Sanders says that none off the rituals is probably more then 100 years old. The rituals and the like are based on the teaching of old.
If you can get this book I much advise it. It has further conversation on the descent of the goddess and a good discussing on the twenty witch festivals. In the back there is a sections of prayers to the goddess. To me that is the best of the book. Now I would not take the mythology as fact per se just read it with an open mind.