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  • What is Traditional Witchcraft?

    This is something i'm confused about, i've seen a lot of sites like on the Crooked heath, Traditional witchcraft, Cornish witchcraft, Branwen's Cauldron, and various others (i've also heard Robert Cochrane's witchcraft called 'Traditional' but what does that mean, as well as Andrew Chumbley's and others, like Nigel Jackson, i think).

    Are all these site's saying it was handed down through their families, and is a survival from pagan times (which sounds rather fluffy bunny like).

    Does anyone here know of these sites or practice them?.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by David19
    This is something i'm confused about, i've seen a lot of sites like on the Crooked heath, Traditional witchcraft, Cornish witchcraft, Branwen's Cauldron, and various others (i've also heard Robert Cochrane's witchcraft called 'Traditional' but what does that mean, as well as Andrew Chumbley's and others, like Nigel Jackson, i think).

    Are all these site's saying it was handed down through their families, and is a survival from pagan times (which sounds rather fluffy bunny like).

    Does anyone here know of these sites or practice them?.

    Thanks.
    i do. i am a traditional witch...well, its where my path is leading..i'm not going to claim i am one yet tho...

    traditional witchcraft is based upon cunning craft. a good book on the subject of cunning craft & cunners or cunning folk is Cunning-Folk, Popular Magic in English History by owen davies. Anyway, traditional witchcraft is based upon the folk practices, lore and beliefs of pagan europe. Its practices follow more along reconstructionist than neo-pagan as it doesn't draw from neo-pagan concepts or traditions. I wouldnt' say that traditional witchcraft was handed down family lines for generations..at least not in it's entirety. However, i'm not saying it's impossible either, i've heard of ppl talking to practitioners of the Old Faith... but if people did have cunning folk in their family lines, then i see it being quite reasonable that they passed down their knowledge & lore to others in their family, especially since cunners were well tolerated even durring the witch hunts, as cunners were seen as the only ones who could undo a witch's spell, and cunner's own magickal workings generally involved passages from the bible and such. Cunners were well tolerated especially as they also were the local herbalists and/or midwives whose healing & other "legit" services the people enjoyed.

    So based on what i know the traditional witchcraft that we see today, as portrayed on sites like the crooked heath and hedgewytch, is drawn from the wortcunning & cunning craft of the Cunning folk, local folk lore, mythology & traditional pagan beliefs/practices of europe.

    also since you mentioned chumbly, here's how he defines traditional witchcraft.
    ~*~ )o( Blessings in Shadow & Light! )o( ~*~

    ~ Semper Fi ~

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    • #3
      This could be a very interesting and/or fiery conversation. Nothing is clear cut, especially definition in paganism. Hence Im not going to add my 2c on this topic as I know I'll have someone jump down my throat and twist my words..
      "I am the lake upon a plain"~Amhairghin

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      MSN: [email protected]
      Yahoo: arianrhods_moondaughter

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      • #4
        Here are some other threads where this topic has been discussed.

        http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=105489

        http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=117383

        http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=118836

        http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=121808 (specifically discusses the 1734 denomination)

        The problem with the various groups that claim they are following intact pre-Gardnerian witchcraft systems is that none of them have actual proof that this is true. It's the old "grandmother myth."

        There is a lot of confusion too about what "traditional witchcraft" is exactly. Some (mostly the Cochrane-descended practitioners) claim it is pre-Gardnerian witchcraft. Other use the same term to refer to sectarian or denominational witchcraft which includes established Wiccan groups such as Gardnerians, Alexandrians, etc.

        Whether any of these practitioners are actually practicing intact pre-Gardnerian systems of witchcraft, let alone intact Pagan religions, is highly doubtful.

        Of course whether a system is meaningful to those who practice it has little or no relation to how old it is or whether historical claims are true. If it works go ahead and use it!

        Ben Gruagach
        MysticWicks forum guide in "Paths: Wicca", "Books" and "History"
        author of The Wiccan Mystic: Exploring a Magickal Spiritual Path
        visit my website at http://www.witchgrotto.com
        read my LiveJournal blog
        find me on Facebook

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        • #5
          Thanks for the replies, guys. I've just remembered this site about Ozark witchcraft and this link, also it mentions Appalachian 'Granny magic' which seems to be 'traditional' witchcraft' and the whole site seems interesting. Has anyone here heard of them or does anyone here practice them, from reading the Ozark witchcraft and Appalachian 'Granny magic', it seems to be Christian witchcraft, is it like a mixture of Christian magic and pagan magic (and both beliefs) or something different.

          Maybe this is going to off topic, but, if these groups practiced, do you think Gardner may have been initated into a group like Ozark or APpalachian witch coven's (they seem to be Christian, but i don't think Gardner ever said what religion they were, did he?).

          Also, is Nigel Jackson's books good as i've thought about, maybe, buying some, when i have the money (which, i desperatly need !).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by David19
            Thanks for the replies, guys. I've just remembered this site about Ozark witchcraft and this link, also it mentions Appalachian 'Granny magic' which seems to be 'traditional' witchcraft' and the whole site seems interesting. Has anyone here heard of them or does anyone here practice them, from reading the Ozark witchcraft and Appalachian 'Granny magic', it seems to be Christian witchcraft, is it like a mixture of Christian magic and pagan magic (and both beliefs) or something different.

            Maybe this is going to off topic, but, if these groups practiced, do you think Gardner may have been initated into a group like Ozark or APpalachian witch coven's (they seem to be Christian, but i don't think Gardner ever said what religion they were, did he?).

            Also, is Nigel Jackson's books good as i've thought about, maybe, buying some, when i have the money (which, i desperatly need !).
            The Appalachian "granny magick" and similar things like pow-wow, as well as historical evidence of witchcraft in Europe from pre-Gardner days (such as "The Black Books of Elverum" edited by Mary S. Rustad) are some of the big reasons why I have a hard time believing the claim that witchcraft is a specific Pagan religion as Margaret Murray and later Gerald Gardner and his spiritual descendants have claimed. All those confirmed pre-Gardnerian witchcraft systems were definitely not Pagan but showed how witchcraft is really about the magick and not about the religion. Turning it into an actual religion, as Gardner did with Wicca, seems to be a more recent thing.

            By the way, there are some interesting public domain texts on pre-Gardnerian American magick including pow-wow at the Sacred-texts.com website. Look for "Pow-wows or Long Lost Friend" in particular as it was the definitive manual used by pow-wow practitioners.

            Nigel Jackson's books are interesting although they really are mostly just elaborations on the Cochrane system of witchcraft. There are lots of other books on Cochrane's system, on Wicca, and also on witchcraft lore in general published through Capall Bann publishers in the UK. You can order things directly from their website or else find the titles and authors through their site and then order the books through local bookstores or else through other online bookstores.

            Ben Gruagach
            MysticWicks forum guide in "Paths: Wicca", "Books" and "History"
            author of The Wiccan Mystic: Exploring a Magickal Spiritual Path
            visit my website at http://www.witchgrotto.com
            read my LiveJournal blog
            find me on Facebook

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            • #7
              Oh, and I forgot to include that I don't think there's any evidence that Gardner was involved in Appalachian granny magick or other specifically American systems. Gardner learned his magickal stuff in Asia (where he lived most of his adult life) and then in the UK when he retired there and leapt completely into occult studies and promoting Wicca.

              Philip Heselton's books "Wiccan Roots" and "Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration" and Ronald Hutton's books "The Triumph of the Moon" and "Witches, Druids and King Arthur" discuss the likely sources of Gardner's material. No real American sources there.

              Ben Gruagach
              MysticWicks forum guide in "Paths: Wicca", "Books" and "History"
              author of The Wiccan Mystic: Exploring a Magickal Spiritual Path
              visit my website at http://www.witchgrotto.com
              read my LiveJournal blog
              find me on Facebook

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by David19
                Thanks for the replies, guys. I've just remembered this site about Ozark witchcraft and this link, also it mentions Appalachian 'Granny magic' which seems to be 'traditional' witchcraft' and the whole site seems interesting. Has anyone here heard of them or does anyone here practice them, from reading the Ozark witchcraft and Appalachian 'Granny magic', it seems to be Christian witchcraft, is it like a mixture of Christian magic and pagan magic (and both beliefs) or something different.

                Maybe this is going to off topic, but, if these groups practiced, do you think Gardner may have been initated into a group like Ozark or APpalachian witch coven's (they seem to be Christian, but i don't think Gardner ever said what religion they were, did he?).

                Also, is Nigel Jackson's books good as i've thought about, maybe, buying some, when i have the money (which, i desperatly need !).
                i think that site is very interesting. i found it when i was looking for more folklore-ish info for my specific area (tho i found little, guess i'll have to hit up the local libraries and stuff ^_^). That site struck my fancy as i have pensylvania dutch heritage and live in the appelacian mts ^_^
                ~*~ )o( Blessings in Shadow & Light! )o( ~*~

                ~ Semper Fi ~

                Comment


                • #9
                  I practise a path I am told is traditional (cannot prove it goes back any further then the people who taught me)

                  It dosn't really compare to any of those sites in any great detail - but its the right path for me -whether its traditional or not dosn't really matter

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                  • #10
                    This is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for... I've been searching for more info on "traditional" Witchcraft for a while now, though I've heard it referred to as the "Hedgerider" path too (although that may be a more specific type?)
                    From what I've read about it already, it's very interesting and I'd love to learn more, but sources are few and far between lol. I'm not fussed if it isn't an unbroken tradition that spans hundreds of years (after all, the path is more important than the age, right?), though ideas about its roots would also be helpful.
                    I'd just love more info on it, websites, books, personal accounts... anything that'd help. ^^ Does anyone know of any? Or maybe someone of the path could discuss it with me (I'm aware it's very personal though so I'm expecting)?
                    I'm checking out those few sites and threads already linked right now though ^^
                    Last edited by PhoenixfireLune; May 13th, 2006, 10:49 AM.

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