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Liber Wicca:
A Flight into the Fanciful

By Frater I Nigris

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The word of Sin is Restriction.

Part I:
Witches & the Western Mystery Traditions


This essay concerns Neopaganism, the Western Mystery traditions, and witches. I make no claims regarding orthodoxy or truth here. I'm only telling a story that I have learned which is meaningful to those as skeptical and imaginative as myself.

There are certainly more fantastic accounts regarding these social traditions which I enjoy, yet for me they do not hold the same level of credibility. These tend to be more mythical and meaningful to the subconscious mind, and are therefore of perhaps MORE value than a story of the type you are about to read.

The Western Mystery traditions, comprised of their mystical and occult threads, are impossible to define in any concrete fashion. Several people have of course attempted to do this, yet in each case their bias and short-sightedness hindered a complete description. Besides this, the traditions themselves form a complex, arising as they do from numerous sources, locations and time periods. To isolate one tradition within this complex and attempt to understand its origin and character is not only difficult, it is a mistake.

In writing about Neopaganism and witches here I therefore do you a disservice. I can only provide a small glimpse, a micro-view of the entirety. It is the equivalent of attempting to understand your nose. Without some understanding of the rest of you, my attempts will be minimal and perhaps futile. Given all of this, I will nonetheless proceed....

A Rough Historical Basis of Paganism

In the ancient world there were two major types of society: the nomadic or wandering tribes and the stable homesteading tribes. Families tended to hold together in clans, at times joining and separating based upon need or individual difference, respectively.

These tribes developed their own forms of language, government, religion and philosophy. Their lifestyle contributed greatly toward their societal constructs. For this reason the most popular ideas and practices (those which have been preserved in their art and tools) included such themes as tool-making, hunting, and the Mysteries of Birth, Sex, Marriage and Death.

The stories and mythical artwork of ancient times portray someone immersed in a world of great powers. Sun, Moon, clouds and night often rivalled or combined with influential plants and animals as religious foci. Some of these became associated with individuals as symbols of personal identity and power.

There is little known regarding the actual practices of ancient peoples. What is commonly referred to as 'Paganism' in today's society is really a fabrication of fantasy, dreams and theory - useful for those who wish to create their own path, yet difficult to substantiate in anthropological terms.

The Developing World

Out of these family clans two major societal traditions developed in line with the types of tribes mentioned above. These were the nonmobile communities that settled in rich, comfortable environments near sources of water and food, and the pioneering explorers who roamed freely through sometimes quite inhospitable regions.

Without getting into too much detail, let us say that most of the ancient civilizations took root in what we today refer to as the 'East' or 'Middle East'. Those in China, India and Egypt/Mesopotamia are quite possibly the oldest large communities known.

The pioneers scattered in clans throughout the world, crossing the ice-bridge into the North Americas, and spreading throughout Africa and the rest of the world. Some parts of these peoples are known as the 'Indo-Europeans', and the common heritage of both the Indus Valley Civilization (India) and the nomads of Europe (Celts, Teutons, etc.) is sometimes overlooked.

The religious practices were comprised of the same elements as in ancient times with variation based on lifestyle. Those who were nomadic tended to focus more on courage, stability and the figure of the Hero/ine.

Those who were stationary tended to focus upon bounty, life, and the figure of the Mother or Father (depending on region and time).

Again, while more is known about these civilizations and pioneers, ideas concerning their lifestyle is speculation and projection, assembled from pottery, statuettes, tools, buried cities and mass graves.

A Rough Historical Overview
of the Western Mystery Traditions

With greater and greater numbers of people vying for use and control of resources, and given the nature of humans, warring became inevitable.

Tribes focussed the advantage of group power toward their own ends, often at the expense of individuals and/or smaller communities.

This group identity and force concretized many times in the course of time and, in the area of Europe and the Mediterranean, reached a peak in the form of the Roman Empire.

Founded upon pagan fertility rites and martial Mystery schools, the Romans sought to bring unity, through force, to the decentralized tribes of Europe, driving the last rebellious factions into the British Isles (chiefly Ireland and Scotland) and northerly reaches (Scandanavia, Finland, etc.).

During the rule of the Romans a wave of religious fervor spread from the Middle East. It was a martyrdom cult, given life by the Mystery traditions of Osiris and other heroic figures, and centering on the concepts of indwelling authority, the resistance to oppression and the sacrifice of one's life in the cause of freedom.

When first attempts to stamp this out only inflamed its growth, the Romans took the only reasonable action in response, adopting its mantle and co-opting the movement through deception. This was the Roman response to the threat of 'Christianity' and the beginning of the 'Holy Roman Empire'.

Centuries rolled by, during which the social factions of the country farmer, the warrior, the creative artisan/merchant and the lawyer, or clerical (scribe) castes developed along an age-old system of Indo-european, tribal stratification.

In each of these social classes there arose a different type of religious practice, given substance by a common ancient heritage, yet formed within the values and lifestyles of those who created them.

The clerical caste, often sharing political and social power with the warriors, developed a form of Christianity focussed on literature and the skills of language, sometimes becoming dogmatism.

The warrior and merchant classes pursued a mixture of the ancient Mystery schools (which the warrior class would perpetually retain), Christian symbology (much of which originated from within the Mystery schools in any case), and a type of social and personal alchemy, inspired by the work of the pyramids in Egypt and other created world-wonders of the time. This developed into a fraternal artisan guild structure known as Masonry.

The peasants and farmers pursued variations of older, regional practices, largely agricultural and fertility rites. It was the variation both in literacy and in economic status which would stigmatize the lower classes as 'primitive' in the eyes of 'scholars' for many years.

The Current Western Mystery Traditions
and Their Origins

Human civilization is an ever-renewing flower, a recurrently- erupting volcano of art, politics, religion and philosophy. We might compare the development of the human brain with the development of 'civilization' (society). The deeper, more central and less obvious elements of the brain are its oldest parts, and this is true also for Western society and its religious traditions.

Today's purely Western sects include the complex which is called Christianity, the ripe material objectivism which is called modern Science, the Masonic tradition, and what can reasonably be called Neopaganism or Neoshamanism.

Christianity is largely the result of enforced conformity, and its doctrines and practices, while retaining an essentially (as from the essenes, 'those who are') valuable teaching, are now geared more toward the simple of mind or extremely intelligent than to anyone between the two.

Modern Science is a renegade sect of philosophers and engineers, often disconnected from their roots in Christian and Masonic traditions. Much of it has become for the West what Christianity once was: an orthodoxy of intellectual stagnation, producing specialists and elitists. They now wield authority in the field of 'objective knowledge', supplanting Church doctrine.

Masonic traditions are, at their worst, social indoctrination schemes that effectively disempower the individual and diffuse rebellion. At their best they are mechanisms of preserving important pscho-social symbols and concepts. The form and meaning of these symbols may have a profoundly transformative effect upon those who use them as foci of meditation.

Setting the Stage:
The Fragmentation of Paganism

It ought be said that none of the aforementioned social and religious developments took place in a vacuum. Just as there is an incredible mixture among economic classes by virtue of a shared society, so has there been a weaving of religious traditions in the West.

Ancient roots of unknown form gave way, through civilization, to an agrarian and fertility-based religious expression amidst peasantry, the farmers in much of Europe. This was dissipated by war, plague and the oppression of upper class fear (exemplified by the Inquisition).

Many, if not all, of the ancient rites have been forgotten or lost, only preserved in form by a co-opting 'Christian' social tradition (e.g. communion and the concept of the Dying Sun-King), or by those who have seized upon times of old as some sort of 'Golden Age', free from the pressures and trials of civilized, citified life.

Whether or not any remnants of an agrarian, fertility-religion somehow managed to be preserved by such a non-literary, ravaged culture as was peasant Europe, it did not likely retain the same form over hundreds of years, especially given the pressures from the upper classes to dissolve it.

It has been popular to assume that if indeed this did occur, then it would most likely have found shelter within places which withstood the onslaught of the Romans, British and other imperialists bent on unification through force.

With all this history behind it, and given inspiration by an orthodoxy which berated and condemned it, when tides of political and social restriction began to recede, it is no wonder that a renewal, a resurgence, began to develop. Much of this rejuvenation has taken place very recently.

A New Religion:
Gerald Gardner and the Craft

Controversy has raged during the latter half of this century concernng the origin and history of Neopaganism. The term itself derives from a new version (neo) of the religion of the country-dweller (paganus). It is a similar descriptor to the 'heathen' or, 'one who dwells within the heaths', the shrubland.

Until 1951 many countries had laws against Masonry and witchcraft, a holdover from earlier times. England was among them, and in that year it repealed restriction of witchcraft.

In immediate response to this, a man by the name of Gerald Gardner published several books on the subject, claiming to have had dealings with an extant 'family tradition' of witches in England. In so doing he revealed details of their lives and religious expression.

Much of the resultant history of Wicca, as he called it, is available in written form by such notable authors as Margot Adler. I shall not repeat their words here except to say that there are important relationships between today's organized Wiccans and traditions outside the peasant class, notably Masonry.

Terms such as 'craft', ritual forms such as 'initiations', and social delineations like 'degrees' are indicators to me of the similarity of origin between modern Wicca and Masonry. For this reason and because I personally find its somtimes rigid structures distasteful, I consider the religion of Wicca to be different than the Way of the Witch. This is largely as a result my own experience and the prevalence of this attitude among many of those whose vision I respect greatly.

I would distinguish between a Wiccan, who is a member of an organized and tax-exempt tradition with many sects (such as Gardnerianism, Alexandrianism, Faerie, etc.), and a witch, who needs no social tradition yet may or may not engage society and group rite. A Wiccan may be a witch, but a witch need not be a Wiccan.

My Meaning for the Term 'Witch'

'Witch' appears to derive from the root 'wicce', which means 'to bend'. I like to play with the ambiguity of this definition. A witch bends like a reed in the wind. She also is one who bends or shapes hir world.

Witches are healers. This varies, however, among those who engage the healing of individuals, those who work for the healing of all, and those who seek both, or see no essential difference between them. In this way witches may be identified as shamans.

Here my bias begins to show...

Witches TEND to focus more heavily upon certain mythic images than on others. Usually this is the imagery which common society has shunned/repressed. For this reason I say that modern witches focus more on the wrathful, repulsive, and/or aged aspects of any deities which enter hir practice: the Crone, the Old King, the Underworld Lord, the Demon Queen.

Witches are often ecologists and may apply the principles of ecology in their lives where they feel able. Many are engaged in political activities designed to awaken a sensitivity to issues surrounding plant and animal, the balance of nature, and one's place in the world. Witches are individualists. Most are solitary workers. It is rare that I meet a witch who says she's a member of an organized religion. Those who do often work for social change, harmony, and a global consciousness without doctrinal or moral sectarianism. I find that most witches are open-minded and focus on actions rather than words and ideas, many having studied other cultures and acquired a broad view of social issues. They are generally accepting of all those whom they meet.

I would say one more thing about witches. They have a sense of humor. They don't seize on details and ostracize. They don't require the seriousness of others. They often don't take themselves too seriously, understanding the Great Cosmic Joke in which they live.


In conclusion, I would further note there is absolutely NOTHING which separates a witch from a Christian, a Buddhist, a Taoist, or even a Satanist. One reason this is the case is that living a witch's life doesn't necessarily have anything to DO with social religious tradition, though it may include it. Another is that there is a place where all paths converge and this 'place between' is where the witch spends the bulk of hir time.


My definitions and descriptions are by no means the last word on the subject of witches. I urge you to develop your own ideas if you have not done so already. There are no false paths in the amusement park of the imagination.

Create fabulous stories about your origin and the origin of groups to which you belong. Witches care more about fantasy than about fact, more about imagination than about knowledge, more about ambiguity than about definition.

I hope you will take what I've said here and chew on it, mash it up, destroy it, then create your own stories with the combined mastications of all the stories you have found inspiring.

There is no truth but what we discover.

Part II:
Beginning Wiccan Theory


This information is gleaned from books, personal instruction with Wiccan elders, ritual work with Wiccans, and from social interaction over a period of 5-10 years. It is not meant to represent the opinion of anyone but myself, makes no claim to objective truth, and is mostly a projection of my imagination beyond the very limited philosophical framework I found within the Wiccan and Neopagan community.

I imagine that the influence I've experienced from many Eastern traditions, along with my limited readings in Western philosophy and occultism, must have contributed in great part to my understanding of the following key terms and phrases:

Merry Meet and Merry Part

At the beginning, when preparations are made and ritual space is created, many Wiccans exchange the greeting 'Merry meet'. At the conclusion of the rite, when the Circle has been opened, an extension of this greeting ('The Circle is open yet unbroken.... Merry meet, merry part, and MERRY MEET AGAIN!') is sometimes used as a resolving seal upon the entire event. It is often pleasantly echoed by joyful hugs and shared warmth.

When used in the context of a greeting outside such rites, the words 'Merry meet' or 'Merry part' are an acknowledgement of the sacred space that we live in and the coming together and separation of each of our individual Circles. Each seemingly separate person is a Circle or Sphere (and Point) of consciousness. We are a sacred space-time-consciousness and our acts are magical acts (especially those which are consciously recognized).

Through the use of these traditional greetings we invoke the balanced centeredness of ritual and acknowledge the interpenetration, the unity, of our life and its magick.

The Wiccan Rede:
'An it harm none, do as thou wilt'

A rede is a piece of advice or counsel, and to this extent the Rede is used as a guideline for one's life. Each person considers it carefully and thoughtfully before she meaningfully calls hirself Wiccan, analyzing all of the ramifications and subtleties of the words 'harm none' and 'as thou wilt'.

The meaning of this advice is not agreed upon by the majority of Wiccans, nor is it important that it be so, for Wicca is not a doctrinal religion. Since most Wiccans recognize no official priests/esses there is little to move the rede into the status of a 'law' (a required constraint). One interprets it as one wishes and associates with others of like mind or those whose way is acceptance.

Therefore be reminded that the following ideas are my own interpretation and no other (along with the subsequent description of the 3-fold Law).

'An' is a contraction of 'And if'. This form allows it to be appended to the advice one might give to another. The Rede is designed to EMPOWER people, not disempower them. It suggests that one take a careful look at oneself and one's actions to evaluate if any harm may be caused in their doing, and if not, to complete them to one's satisfaction.

The Rede centers upon one's INTENT. It is not only impossible but unreasonable to evaluate the ends of one's actions. We can never be sure that they have come to complete fruition. All we can do is learn from the past, be aware of the present and plan for the future.

'An it harm none' is a deceptively complex phrase. If harm included any type of injury or damage then we would find ourselves straight-jacketed into suicide. Life depends upon death and injury for its very existence. We displace and destroy countless microscopic organisms with every breath and movement. In order to feed ourselves we must kill some form of life in order to absorb its nutrients. It is sometimes important that minor injury take place so as to prevent an eventual calamity. Surgery and self-defense are good examples here.

For this reason we may accept a less expansive meaning for the word 'harm'. It need only include the cause of unnecessary pain and suffering. To interpret this further and define what is 'necessary' would be to DISempower our fellow Wiccan, forming a doctrine that is ethically contrary to the Rede.

Each individual discovers this line for hirself and acts accordingly. For this reason no absolute association may ever meaningfully be applied to 'good' and 'evil' or 'bad'. We each have our individual reactions and evaluations of an action taken by another. If we think that another's action will lead to harm then we may oppose it (not the person, the action) so as not to bring about harm through our INaction.

Again, we can never know who is objectively 'correct' in any conflict. BOTH are correct as we follow our emotions and intuitions, act with pure intent, express our respect for another's feelings and power, and remain aware of the present circumstance.

In social interactions only consensus (without the force of rule) conforms to the Rede and its important protections. 'An it harm none, do as thou wilt' is a subjective guideline, not a moral imperative. Those who would judge us, saying that they know we are not living by it, fail to do so themselves by disrespecting the innate divinity of our experience and conscience.

The Threefold Law

As an extension of the Rede, the Threefold Law is an explanation of a law of nature. It deals with action and how this affects the cosmos and the apparent source of this action. As an explanation, it ought to be tested by the skeptical and disregarded by those who feel it inaccurate. Many continue to claim its accuracy (in whatever detailed form), so perhaps it is not so easy to dismiss. The Law, as mentioned above, is not a moral judgement or a social constraint. It is a principle of nature which has been observed and described. Action (karma) produces suffering based upon its nature and our evaluation of its result. Intent and our view of this intent are central to this principle's function.

Our actions affect us in the following threefold manner:

  1. Energy goes through us as we manifest it. We suffer or benefit according to its nature. If an energy is intended to harm another then it harms us as we manifest it.

  2. Our actions affect others directly, and to the extent that we are one with all so do we suffer again if our intent was harm.

  3. Our deep mind compensates us for our harmfulness and our beneficence. If we see that we harm, we punish ourselves; if we see that we help or heal, then we reward ourselves (more carefully and thoroughly than any jailer).

This may tie in to psychological models about the 'superego' and its prohibitive function, arising from the programming of our parents and other influential authorities. This a very deep self-judgement process, inspired in us by society, the compensation carried out via unconscious processes too complex to explore here.

It ought be mentioned, however, that those who transcend or grow beyond compartmentalizing their actions are also beyond the compensation of this Law, especially with regard to the reactions of the deep mind or superego. There is much speculation as to whether this growth actually occurs, however (see Hinduism's 'moksha', liberation or Buddhism's 'nirvana'/extinction for other explanations).

Blessed Be

This simple phrase is a rough equivalent of the Christian 'amen' or the native american 'ho', perhaps with subtle differences. It is sometimes used in greeting or parting and general well-wishing. It is also used in ritual to seal or provide support for a magical act.

At its most esoteric, 'Blessed be' is an acknowledgement of the divinity of all present being. It is an affirmation of the rightness of all and/or the conferment of one's blessings upon another in warmth and love.


As with most religious traditions, the esoteric concepts associated with each of these words and phrases have not become apparent, or have been diluted or lost by many who comprise Wicca. Social dynamics and communication failures work to separate wisdom from compassion and ideas from feelings, even in the best of situations.

Little regarding Wiccan philosophy has been written and much of this is one-sided or moralistic. Perhaps this essay shall provide some of the fuel for the debate that these issues really deserve, rather than simply add to the endless drone of judgement and small-mindedness that at times seems commonplace.

Part II:
Wiccan Ritual Structure


Traditional Wiccan ritual derives from a very common structure. It may be seen in many indigenous religions, is a basic formula for Vedic rites, and can be seen as a pattern for most Western social events - 'secular' and 'religious'.

It is comprised of the following steps:

Cleaning, preparation or creation of ritual space

This varies from as little as a change in attitude or focus to an entire process of physical and/or symbolic 'purification', designed to alert the participants (especially their unconscious minds) to a change of atmosphere in preparation for the rite.

In traditional Wicca this usually includes creating a 'Circle' of ritual space (actually a sphere) and purifying the area and participants with incense (fire and air elements) and salt water (water and earth). The exact sequence of the Circle, censing, and aspergation may vary.

Calling of energies/entities

Though at times this calling will precede the preparations, depending upon the custom and timing of an event, it is the equivalent of inviting guests and/or guardians. Sometimes this is seen as a necessary precaution. At others it is seen as an important element in and of itself.

The energies or entities vary among traditions. In Wiccan ritual it is often the 'Guardians of the Watchtowers' or 'Quarters' and these are summoned from the planar four directions (North, East, South and West), usually associated with elemental energies of the world (Earth, Air, Fire and Water).

Often also 'the god and goddess' are welcomed to the Circle, sometimes through the personality and form of a 'Priest' and/or 'Priestess' who may happen to be officiating. More a focus of group energies than any social authority, the Priest/ess is said to 'channel' or 'manifest the energies of' the god/dess during the rite.

Raising of power

This is the build-up before the climax of the social event. It is emotional and 'psychic' in nature and in Wiccan tradition will often involve the creation of what is called a 'Cone of Power'. This is a three-dimensional psychic energy funnel, designed to direct those 'raised energies' toward a group focus.

Sometimes this focus amounts to a physical change within or outside the Circle (often delayed so as to account for the will of the gods). Sometimes this focus is an energy or entity within or outside the Circle that is perceived to be lacking and in need of such aid. Sometimes the Cone is raised with the intent that those present will take what they need of its power and that the rest may be 'grounded', directed toward Mother Earth for Her use/healing.

The Great Work/Rite

This is the Main Event, though at times it is coincident with and may be inclusive of the build-up. This may be the central reason for the rite (if there is one) and, in those traditions which define it in any way, usually involves some procurement of knowledge (science) or expression of inspiration (art).

In Wicca, like in most tantric traditions, it either takes place physically or symbolically. The more complex and socially controversial form of this is the physical conjunction of the Priestess and Priest (coitus). This is symbolically represented by the 'blessing of the cakes and wine' (the seed of the god is symbolized by the grain of the cakes, the blood of the goddess by the wine). This is typically done using magical implements, often symbolized by the penetration of the dagger (or 'athame') into the chalice (or 'cup'), a fairly heterosexual symbolism.

Once the god and goddess have conjoined within the Circle, their fruits (the cakes and wine) are consumed by the participants. Traditionally, and within the symbology of the rite, this is a time for social announcements and information to be exchanged by the group. Not only does it provide a modicum of secrecy for the Wiccan network, it also symbolizes the real unity between the 'world beyond' the Circle and the 'ritual space' which it contains.

Departures and resolution

Once the Main Event has taken place and some time has passed for an appreciation of its beauty and meaning, then it is time to call the rite to a close and return to everyday life.

In Wicca this may be very simple or complex, depending upon the group (coven). It usually includes the 'dismissal' or 'departure' of the guests or guardians, including the god and goddess.

It also involves 'taking down' or 'opening' the Circle; bringing down the dividing line between the outside world and ritual space and/or extending the Circle to include the entire universe (in form somewhat like the ripples that a pebble makes when dropped into a pond).

Reviews, comments and questions welcome.

Invoke me under my stars.
Love is the law, love under will.

I am I!

9303.03 e.v.
Frater (I) Nigris (666) 333
Tyagi Nagasiva
House of Kaos
871 Ironwood Drive
San Jose, Kali Fornica,


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