Wiccan Traditions

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    In its modern form, there are many Wiccan traditions just as there are denominations in Christian churches. Many Wiccans find comfort in following one set path, while others draw on the elements of many traditions in solitary practice. Here are some brief descriptions of some of the major variations of the Craft.

    Gardnerian

    Gerald Gardner was a British civil servant with an interest in folklore, magic, and the occult. He claimed that his beliefs and practices were learned from the New Forest Coven into which he was initiated in 1939. At the time, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 was still in effect, making the group illegal, so its activities were secret and the membership small.

    In 1951, the witchcraft laws were repealed, paving the way for Gardner to publish his first book, Witchcraft Today in 1954. Gardnerian Wicca is considered to be the first of the modern traditions to be codified and the one from which all others are in some way descended, especially in the UK, Europe, and Commonwealth countries. Sometimes Gardnerian Wicca is referred to as British Traditional Wicca.

    The tradition follows a system of degrees for mastering the Craft. New members must be initiated by a coven, therefore all Gardnerian groups can trace their lineage back to Gardner’s original New Forest Coven. Much of the work is “oath-bound” and remains strictly within the confines of the coven, where members work Skyclad (unclothed.)

    Traditionally, Gardnerian covens have 13 members and are led jointly by a High Priestess and High Priest. Members are forbidden from sharing the names and personal information of other members, or of confirming that they are indeed members.

    This tradition teaches the core ethical guideline of the Wiccan Rede and although there are organized rituals, there is no dogma. Each member must discover for themselves the meaning of their ritual experiences as an aspect of their individual path.

    Alexandrian

    Alex Sanders, known popularly as the “King of the Witches” founded this tradition in the 1960s with this wife, Maxine Sanders. It is, in most aspects, identical to Gardnerian Wicca, but there is a greater emphasis on ceremonial magick and greater eclecticism is allowed. The attitude, as described by Maxine Sanders is, “If it works, use it.”

    Working Skyclad is optional, but the rite of initiation, and of earning degrees (typically three) is followed. In some Alexandrian covens, a fourth-degree or preliminary rank is used called the “dedicant” or “neophyte.”

    In truth, the distinction between Alexandrian and Gardnerian covens is blurry at best and many priestesses train their students in both traditions. There is, in fact, a deliberate fusion of the two called the Algard Tradition.

    Algard

    Mary Nanni CK, who was initiated in both the Gardnerian and the Alexandrian traditions fused the two into Algard Wicca in 1972. It is widely regarded as redundant since in practice this version is largely Gardnerian.

    There are very few Algard covens in either the United States or Great Britain and even covens that operate with a thriving mix of the two traditions do not self-identify as Algard.

    This fusion is most clearly seen in the work of Janet and Steward Farrer whose books Eight Sabbats for Witches and A Witches’ Bible: The Complete Witches’ Handbook is of particular interest.

    Georgian

    Although very similar to the Gardnerian tradition, Georgian Wicca was founded in the United States by George Patterson in Bakersfield, California in 1970. He claimed to have been influenced by Celtic traditions derived from his work with a coven in Boston after World War II.

    It is a somewhat more flexible tradition in that members may write their own rituals. As in the Alexandrian tradition, working Skyclad is optional. Initiation is required and members are still oath bound.

    Seax-Wicca

    Raymond Buckland, a High Priest in the Gardnerian tradition, founded Seax-Wicca after moving to the United States in 1973. This variation is based more heavily on Saxon traditions and allows for valid initiation either by a coven or through self-study.

    Buckland was the author of numerous books on witchcraft, including Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, published in 1985.

    Feri

    Also spelled Fairy, Faery, and Faerie, the Feri tradition was brought to the United States in the 1960s and is typically associated with small working groups and solitaires. One of the most notable initiates of this tradition is the author and activist Starhawk, best known for her work, The Spiral Dance.

    Dianic

    Known as the feminist movement of Wicca, the Dianic tradition emphasizes the reverence of the Goddess in her three aspects. Many of the Dianic covens are for women only.

    The tradition was founded by Zsuzsanna Budapest in the 1970s and is an egalitarian and matriarchal tradition that combines elements of the Gardnerian tradition with folk magic and feminist principles.

    Other Traditions

    Other traditions you may encounter include:

    • Celtic Wicca, which emphasizes the magic and healing abilities of elemental spirits, gnomes, fairies, plants, and minerals.
    • Asatru (Northern Way) is based on the Norse pantheon and involving Old Norse dress for ritual work.
    • Pictish, which is a solitary Scottish nature tradition.
    • Strega, that draws traditions dating back to 14th-century Italian teachings.

    While not a complete list, these descriptions certainly should give you an idea of the variety inherent in the world of Wicca.

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    Handmade Crystal Window Car Hanging Ornaments 7 Chakra Home Decoration Feng Shui Ornament Yoga Meditation Car Decoration Tumbled Palm Stones Christmas Decorations Ornaments

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    The Operate of Art work in The Cultural Lifetime of The Mendes in Sierra Leone

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    The Mende ethnic society is located in the South-Western part of Sierra Leone. The main occupation there is farming. The Mendes have organized themselves into kingdoms and autonomous villages and towns ruled by chiefs. The chiefs’ exercised limited power because the secret societies there exercise greater authority over the political and social life of the people. The Mendes believed in God as the creator. They practiced magic and also believed in ancestors, animism, sorcery, and witchcraft.

    The Mendes engaged in the production of various works of art. The visual art forms include sculpture, jewelry, body arts, and textiles. The sculptural works include the Bundu masks, Sowe masks, Minerec figures, and statuettes. The body arts included body painting, marks, and coiffure with various hairstyles. They engaged in weaving while the women spun the cotton threads, the men wove the fabrics on looms. They also engaged in verbal arts such as songs, dance, poetry, and storytelling.’

    The Bundu masks and their parts refer to ideals of female beauty, morality, and behavior. It has a high broad forehead that signifies wisdom and success. The neck ridges are signs of beauty, good health, and prosperity. It also symbolizes a moth chrysalis, the transformative stage in a butterfly’s life from a worm to a flying creature that is similar to a young woman’s initiation into womanhood. It also has intricately woven or plaited hair that is the essence of harmony and order found in an ideal Mende household. A small closed mouth and downcast eyes indicate the silent and serious facial expression expected of new initiates. The surface of the mask is coated with a glistering black substance as a form of finishing. The masks symbolize the adult women’s roles as wives, mothers, providers for the family, and keepers of medicine for use within the Sande association and the Mende association as a whole.

    The Mendes also produced the Nomoi or Pombo stone carvings, carved out of soapstone. The Mendes believes that the stones are the representations of the people who lived in the region before they came to the area and the people have a ceremony around the stones where they treat them as former chiefs and kings of the region.

    These marvelous artistic creations were essential in undertaking the everyday life activities of the people. For example, the women wore the Bundu mask together with a costume of black raffia during the initiation rites of the females. The masks conceal them from the audience attending the performance. The women leaders who wear these masks dance to a song from drums during the initiation ceremony. They serve as priestesses and judges during the three years of the training. They serve as teachers and mentors helping the young girls with their transformation into educated and marriageable women. These masks are not discarded, but rather they are repaired and reused after each initiation ceremony. Also, the Somali figures were used for ancestral veneration. The Minister figures are used by the women prophetesses for healing and divination.

    Therefore, the culture of the Mendes was cleverly and skillfully portrayed using the various forms of art. This shows that art is very paramount in the development of humans and as such is a powerful vehicle for unveiling the cultural life of ethnic societies and nations.

     

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