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Post  TipsyCad147 on Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:58 am

Green Witchcraft

by: Makarios
A lot of people wonder what kind of Witchcraft is called green. Some people have heard of white witchcraft and black witchcraft, and even grey witchcraft, but green witchcraft is sometimes surprising. In my experience there really is no such thing as black, white or grey witchcraft, so that narrows the field a little. Let me explain…

The concept of black and white, with grey presumably somewhere in between, comes from the polarisation of modern social thinking. By modern, I mean the past 2,000 to 3,000 years. People have been around for a long time, as proven by 300,000-year-old cave paintings and 400,000-year-old-spears. Many people are still attuned to the earth and nature, practicing spiritually connective rites with balance, not dichotomy. Dichotomy is a feature of modern, not ancient, western society and culture, wherein black equates to evil and white equates to good. Gray, then, becomes a mixture of good and evil, composing some kind of ambiguous spiritual soup. None of this is part of the Craft as I was taught it by my mother and her mother — they taught balance and interconnection.

So what exactly is Green Witchcraft? It is the core practice of the traditions of earth magics, the Witchcraft of the Natural Witch, the Kitchen Witch, the Cottage Witch, the Hedge Witch. It is herbal, attuned to nature and basic in the sense that it is the foundation upon which any Craft tradition may be built. In the three-levelled triangle pattern of Northern European tradition, the word green is used to describe the ground level belonging to the ancient God and Goddess of Nature. I find this very appropriate, since the deities of the upper levels are essentially the newer social ones relating to class distinctions (warrior: Thor, priesthood/lawgiver: Tyr, and ruler: Odin).

The green level of practice addresses the God and the Goddess as the powerful forces of Nature. This is the magics of the people as social equals, which was the Old Religion held by people in a communal time. As a ruler class developed, supported by a new class of lawmakers and enforced by a warrior class, each of the new social stratas were given their special representative deities and set off as higher levels upon the original green base.

In the Northern tradition, Frey and Freya were the deities of the common folk. These names translate as “Lord” and “Lady” and can be found in ancient religions using words with the same or similar meanings. The pre-Moslem Middle East had Allah and Allat, pre-Judaic Palestine had Yahweh and Asherat, and pre-Vedic India had (and still has) Shiva and Shakti. In each place, the imposition of a single dominant male deity at the pinnacle of the divine pantheons resulted from priesthoods formalising a dogma that supported a social structure of divine-sanctioned rulership.

Yahweh (God in Christianity), Allah, and in India, Brahma took over the lead roles, but were basically unapproachable, so intercession took place from and ordained by priesthood. This had the effect of taking power from the general population, of isolating the people from their deities, and empowering a ruler supported by religions of authority and a standing army that formed a warrior class.

Today much of that social system has faded away, and thus we see a struggle over redefining the role of religion and government in the social order. Civil law has gained the power of the ruler, and a priesthood is no longer required to support civil law. One of the major sources of unrest in many lands today comes from tension between those who want ethical laws and those who want to impose what they perceive as “God’s law.”
The practice of the green level of the Craft draws the powers of Nature into the individual to create some changes through magickal workings. The power is not some distant, amorphous thing, but real energy and the flow of that energy to develop your own self-empowerment. The more the energy is used, the easier it flows.

The Green practice is not formal, but utilises herbs in spellwork, magical teas, healing and folkcrafts. Using the objects in nature, the Green Witch is able to construct spells with what materials are on hand. And these spells, charms and other magics work through the Elementals, who are the four basic Powers of Witchcraft: Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
My mother and grandmother referred to The Power, but I see this as the Goddess and the God, and the Elementals. To me, the Green Craft is very natural, practical, grounded and earth centered. The energy flow is real, and it is divine.

Styles of Practice
In the Green Craft there are three basic styles of practice. This means you can choose how you want to practice the Craft so you are comfortable with magic and the contact you will have with the power and forces of nature:
The first style of the Craft practice exists within a mainstream religious affiliation. This is the practice of folk magics using the imagery of the divine as found in mainstream religion of choice. For Catholics, in particular, this is an easy transition simply because so much of Catholicism is based upon pagan precedents. The goddess image may be found in Mary, the god image in Jesus. The various saints, real people or former deities, may be used in folk magic to represent aspects of pagan deities: St. Francis as Lord of the Animals, St. Brighid was first the Goddess Brighid, etc. Many of the early saints were not real people, but pagan deities humanised, converted to Christianity, and turned into saints by new myths. The cathedrals of Europe were built on top of the temples and holy sites of various pagan deities. Pagan holy shrines and sacred wells were rededicated to Christian saints or to the ancient Gods and Goddesses redefined as saints (for example, England’s Chalice Well was once Brighid’s Well). Thus, the pagan energies may still be called upon, but with modern names.

The second style of practice involves working directly with the natural powers without any religious figures or outlook. Similar to Elementalism, but without worship, the energies of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are addresses. With this second style of Green Witchcraft, the practitioner is drawing the power inside to channel toward his or her goal. Various objects and items from Nature can be used to aid in focusing the energy, including such things as leaves, seed pods, feathers, stones, herbs and shells.

The third style of Green Witchcraft brings the practitioner into close connection with the Goddess and the God, and the Elementals. This is both magic and religion. You can address the Divine and may eventually want to make a personal commitment to the Lady and the Lord. Once the channel is opened between you and them, particularly after a Dedication Ritual, the conversation is on-going, i.e., there is no “amen,” no “thank-you and good-bye.” They personally give you a new name, called a “Working Name,” to be kept secret between you and them. Because of the intensity of the connection between the practitioner and the Divine, I caution people not to do a Dedication unless they are absolutely certain that a new way of life is what they desire. If you perform a Dedication and are just messing around, you risk insulting The Power, and possible ending your ability to connect with the Divine of the Craft in this life. Should they be inclined to give you a second change, they may set many obstacles in your path and test you severely before you are rewarded with the open communication that comes with Dedication.

In sum, if you want to practice the Craft, but want to remain within socially accepted fold of mainstream religion, the first style is for you. If you want to forget about “religion” and simply be one with Nature, the second style is for you. If you feel that spiritual fulfillment will only come to you by connection with the Divine, along with being one with Nature, then the third style may be what you are looking for. I have used all three approaches successfully, so I know all three work. It is a matter of what is comfortable for you.

*From Green Witchcraft III by Ann Moura. Llewellyn Publications, 2001.


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