Updated: Sep 17
My Experiences walking the Crooked Path of Traditional Witchcraft.
The new Witchcraft blog by Brant Williams
Many of you have seen my post where I showed my circle here in the woods where I live. I wanted to give some updates, but first I want to give you some personal history so you guys can know me a little better, and see how I came to the Crooked Path of Traditional Witchcraft before I share the experiences of my journey.
As a very young child all I really wanted was to learn Witchcraft! I started practicing Witchcraft at age 12 (I acquired my first Tarot deck a year later). I got the book Helping Yourself With White Witchcraft by Al G. Manning. I practiced the rituals in that book in my Grammy's basement. I even tried to start a coven with some neighborhood kids. It turned into a disaster, as we used an old barn that some neighbors were keeping an eye on. Long story short, we got a ride home by the police, and I had to explain how we weren't going to sacrifice the neighbors dog (she followed us everywhere like a shadow).
My Grammy returned my books to me and said not a word. As I got older I studied every book I could get my hands on reading everything from Laurie Cabot, Ray Buckland, Scott Cunningham, Silver Ravenwolf, Gerina Dunwich, Janet and Stewart Farrar just to name a few. In the 90s all books coming out were about Wicca, as opposed to the practice of Witchcraft.
There was one book by Aidan Kelly called Inventing Witchcraft. He is a scholar, and Wiccan who examined all of Gardner's documents and books and basically proved he ripped off Crowley, and the Golden Dawn plus a generous portion of Leland, and poof! Wicca was born! This never bothered me at all. All religions start somewhere, and while old Gerald was not everyone's favourite, he did something amazing, and changed the world.
Now at this point I had also studied the Golden Dawn, The Qabala, the teachings of Crowley and all manner of Ceremonial Magick. After losing my soulmate to cancer in 2005 I just stopped everything, including reading Tarot. So much of my practice was done with her, all of our Sabbat and Esbat rituals were written for a pair. We did everything together. It was just too painful to go back to the practice we had built together over the last 15 years.
Me joining WDA and learning Gypsy Cards was my way of tip toeing back into the world of Spirit. So some months ago I wanted to get back into Witchcraft. I noticed all these books coming out in recent years about "Traditional Witchcraft". I had just about had it with the whole neo-pagan scene and all of the elitist assholes, when I saw the book Besom, Stang & Sword by Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire. I read that and was blown away. It was like a revelation, and a homecoming.
So what is Traditional Witchcraft? It is basically what Witchcraft was before Gerald Gardner's invention of Wicca in 1950. It is not so much about having a "tradition" that is unbroken through pre Cristian times as it is about the folklore of Witchcraft throughout history. It is about being close to the actual land where you live. It is about folk magic. It is a practice rather than a religion. It is about the Dark Lord, the Witch King, the Man in Black. It is about the Witch Queen, the Queen of the fairies, the Queen of Elfaim.
In most Traditional Witchcraft practice (not all) the Witch King and Queen are not worshipped, but rather seen a Spirit Guides teaching the mysteries of the darkness, the earth, and the spirit world.
Traditional Witchcraft is about forging strong bonds with spirits. The spirits of the Witch Lord, and Witch Queen. The spirits of the land where you live. The spirits of the herbs you use in your spells. The spirits of the dead. A large part of Traditional Witchcraft is about forging bonds with the spirits of your ancestors.
Those dead people whose blood runs through your veins, whose DNA you carry.
Next post: Me and my Dead People!