Nature Spirituality, Shamanism, and the Old Religion (Wicca)
The Old Religion is known by many names: Nature Spirituality, Shamanism, Wicca are all forms of Nature Spirituality which goes back to Neolithic Times. There are many artifacts that symbolize this ancient earth religion. We have ancient stone circles and Goddess and Earth Mother images carved in caves. Peoples throughout the world continue to practice it, from Native Americans, to Goddess Worshipers, to Tibetan Buddhism. The term Wicca merely means "wise woman". In Wicca, the tribal or village shaman would be a wise woman who gave spiritual advise and healing to those that sought her assistance. It wasn't until the Great Inquisitions that the term was given a negative connotation and associated with evil. Wicca and Satanism are two separate, exclusive paths. Wicca IS NOT Satanism. Wicca brings you close to the Divine whereas Satanism would separate you from the Divine!
Please make a selection:
In Nature Spirituality, followers seek a feeling of oneness with other living things, with animals, trees, the ocean, sun, moon, and earth. They recognize forces of nature created our physical bodies and that it's creative abilities and powers are within us. They recognize all nature, including human beings, combine as one collective subconscious that is life affirming. They recognize the earth to be alive and conscious as she is "Mother". We can connect, pray and communicate with her directly using trees, plants, animals, birds, crystals, streams, water, etc. They recognize beings of nature have wisdom that is differently and perhaps even more ancient and wise than human knowledge. They recognize that other life forms are earlier, evolutionary prototypes of the human being. They recognize that this deep eternal wisdom must be learned by all to preserve our planetary environment, Earth Mother.
We need to live on our Earth Mother in balance and with reverence towards all life. We need to tap into her creative abilities and power by aligning with her, loving her, and revering her. We must ensure that she can give us life, strength, and energy to grow and change as well as sustain future life. Mother can grant us serenity, balance and nurturance through creative and dynamic rituals that touch our personal visions and subconscious minds. We can use circle rituals, chants, visualizations, meditations, and speaking to her where she resides, in our own hearts.
Nature Spirituality holds some sacred concepts regarding the Circle, Time, Space and Medicine Power. The Sacred Circle or Medicine Wheel is common to all earth religions where ancient symbols are combined with ceremonial elements to create a circle. The sacred circle is -
- an entrance place to the spiritual world;
- power is raised to heal and transform for the good of all life;
- a way to get in touch with the forces of nature and our own higher selves;
- life affirming, positive prayers are said;
- a symbol of perfection, wholeness, endlessness, unity, completion, the flow of life, healing, wholeness;
- a symbol for the cycles of the sun, moon, seasons, time, timelessness, of life-death-rebirth;
- a symbol from it's roundness, fullnes, and abundance, our planet, the Mother Earth or Divine Mother;
- a means to contain, intensify, and direct the energy raised within it.
Common elements to all Sacred Circles include the following:
- cleansing and purification
- shielding from unwanted energies
- creating the circle
- calling positive spirits and the four directions (east, south, west, and north)
- raising and sending energy or medicine power
- closing the circle
Circle recommendations include -
- create an atmosphere of reverence, using a quiet place either inside our outside;
- use candles, incense or fire in the center of the circle;
- place a sacred object or crystal in the center of the circle;
- place symbolic representations of the four elements in or around the circle.
A feather symbolizes air and the direction East. A candle symbols fire and the direction South. A bowel of water or a sea shell symbolizes water and the direction West. A container of earth or a stone symbolizes the earth or the direction North.
Everything done within the circle must be positive and life affirming. The products of a sacred circle are sacred space, time and energy. Any space can be set-aside as a place that is sacred, powerful and mysterious. The space can be anywhere, any size, and any shape. Natural settings are recommended because they are exhilarating or have power points or are filled with beauty and peace. This sacred space and time can be embedded into our memories and we can evoke it by recalling it from our memories or through a visualization of it. The energy or medicine power you raise or shape while in the circle is magnified and focused by the circle itself. Energy sent from a circle eventually returns to you magnified. Therefore, energy must always be positive, life-affirming. It can be directed towards other people, animals, objects or even yourself.
The five points of a pentacle symbolize the 4 elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth) and Spirit. When the nine points of an enneagram are connected in a certain way, a pentagram results. The enneagram represents the Temple of Light or Shaper of All or Goddess with her 9 aspects (Energizer, Measurer, Protector, Initiator, Challenger, Deliverer, Weaver, Preserver, Empower). The pentacle and enneagram are related. Both are symbols for the Goddess, Mother. The enneagram aspects can be arranged into 9 pentads of power (i.e. Empower, Measurer, Initiator, Challenger, Weaver).
There are also similarities between the pentacle, enneagram and the Medicine Wheel. You can physically be with and meditate on aspects (energy) to develop and inner knowledge of that aspect or relationship of the circle or enneagram. You can also find practical applications. We can make an energy aspect a reality and find practical applications through 1) rituals, we can translate them into reality by performing the symbolism, making it a direct, personal, and immediate experience; 2) through our own actions; or 3) by becoming a model.
The Basic Steps to a Wiccan Ritual:
- Purification of Self - bathe or anoint with oil
- Purification of Space - sprinkle fresh water or sweep area
- Creation of the Sacred Circle - set up alter, cast circle with athame, carry around salt, candle and water
- Invocation - pray to the Goddess/God
- Ritual Observance - Sabbat, Esbat (full or new moon) or Book of Shadows ritual; or
- Raising Energy - magic rituals
- Earthing the Power - eating cakes and drinking
- Thanking God/Goddess
- Breaking the Circle - circle closing and with Athame, draw energy back into the circle.
The Major Wiccan Rituals are listed below with a brief description.
- Esbats - new and full moons
- Sabbats -
- Yule: renewal land rebirth during winter
- Imbolc: festival of lights to encourage the sun's return
- Ostara: start of Spring Beltane: return of fertility
- Litha: great magical power
- Lughnasadh: harvest and thanksgiving
- Mabon: second harvest and mysteries
- Samhain: end of Summer, honor dead.
Wiccan Symbols and Tools are described below.
- Images of Goddess and God - sculpture or drawing
- Book of Shadows - hand written book of Wiccan rituals, rules, & magical techniques
- Athame - black handled knife which is used to direct energy in creating magic circles
- Censer - incense or herbs for purification & to invite in God/Goddess
- Chalice/Cup - hold ritual liquids (water/wine)
- Knife - white handled knife used for actual cutting
- Salt - used for circle casting, consecration of tools, etc.
- Water - for purification of the circle
- Pentacle - five pointed star symbol of the Goddess
- Wand - used for energy raising or while inviting beings to attend circle
- Cauldron - symbol of Goddess used as center of circle. Fires are sometimes lit within them.
- Bell - rung at specific points in ritual
- Broom - for cleansing! cleansing the ritual area
- Cords - symbolize bond of love and responsibility shared by members of circle
- Alter Cloth - specific color cloth for different rituals with Pentagram sown on it.
Entering, say: "I am entering the stillness before creation. I am entering the ground of the Goddess. May my body be still. May my mind be peaceful. May my heart be ready. May all that I realize today benefit all creation."
Exiting, say: "I return from the stillness before creation, I return from ground of the Goddess, May my body be wakeful, May my mind be alert. May my hear to open. May all I have realized benefit all creation."
Blessed Be! Love to all from Emmie!