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  • Traditional Witchcraft and..."degrees"

    Say huh? I was just informed that Traditional Witchcraft has a clergy and degrees, and that basically I am not a Trad. Witch if I don't follow that.

    So again...say huh? That sounds alot like Trad Wicca to me and not Trad Witchcraft.

  • #2
    To a degree many family trads were degreed and had clergy. Yet it was not in the sense of a parson / pastor but a head of the family that oversaw and directed the whole families direction and focus.

    Beneath that head were elders that taught and focused upon specific areas. For instance my sisters were placed under a different set of routes and stuff than I was as a male. Then based upon apptitude and such they focused on certain areas in detail.

    But I am not certain I would say one is not a traditional witch without those items.

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    • #3
      My mentor was Fam-Trad, they had degrees. In fact, his lot had nine of 'em.

      I would not say it's not "trad" without them, though.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        In Ireland at least, those that received labels as "witches," intervened alternatively with roles that local clergies be involved with, but these "degrees" sound and awful lot like they were created or borrowed from Wicca, whose degree system was influenced from the Freemason Craft degrees, also utilised by other magickal orders.

        Whoever originally said this, sounds like they're trying to both be similar, and different to traditions influenced by Wicca at the same time.
        Semper Fidelis

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        • #5
          It sounds like they just assumed Wicca when they heard the term Witch.

          Also, Traditional Wicca does have degrees, you really need to be clear which Tradition you are talking about..... some have more than three, others have just one one - initiate. So even in Wicca it varies, and even more so in the broader sense with Witchcraft...

          And of course in Wicca, Tradition doesn't just mean tradition in the average sense but a "denomination" of sorts... not simply in the sense of passed down customs because then you could call any path with consecutive history of practice a Tradition.... much in the sense of Family Traditions...

          So to some it up I would say the are incorrect and have no arguement unless they first define Tradition as a specific lineage and even then that simply means you aren't of that lineage, not that you aren't a Witch.

          and I suspect they were referring to Wicca because unfortunately this attitude of excluding those outside of British Traditional Wicca is all too common.

          I have received nothing but respect from the Gardnerians and Alexandrians I actually know and usually just see this on the Internet so I honestly thing it's more of an attention kind of thing than anything else.

          I've been on forums where they will say "post your lineage or it doesn't count" but unless you've been initiated by Raymond Buckland or someone recognizable... good luck tracing the line back to Gardner.... and then who's to say you didn't make it up.... not that that is something you would post online so eagerly...
          Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
          (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
          anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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          • #6
            Family Tradition could mean anything... just depends on the family

            ^
            Just in case the obvious needs stating
            Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
            (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
            anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DracoJesi View Post
              Family Tradition could mean anything... just depends on the family

              ^
              Just in case the obvious needs stating

              Just an aside but all the member's of family trads that I have dealt with never claim "Witch" as a title. There more Granny Magics, Cunning folk, Hedge Riders or practioners of folk magics. Seldom did one see any that called themselves witches.

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              • #8
                Traditional Wicca(Gardnerian&Alexandrian), only has 3 degrees as well, like craft masonry, so I'm not sure where degrees would fit into Trad Craft unless someone created them relatively recently. I could only guess family traditions that employ them would have them in place to represent different levels of understanding, which is different to any Irish folk traditions I've heard of regarding apprentices at least. Also, Wicca's degrees are present in order to train its initiates for priesthood, so one would assume that Trad Craft with degrees are combining family traditions with a particular religion or priesthood, something that historic British Isle cunning folk did not do.
                Semper Fidelis

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by EntwinedScylla View Post
                  My mentor was Fam-Trad, they had degrees. In fact, his lot had nine of 'em.

                  I would not say it's not "trad" without them, though.

                  *nods* I'm not saying that families can't or don't have them, but this dude was saying that Trad Craft is a clergy based goddess worshiping path who honor the goddess and the horned god...that is the "true" traditional witchcraft.

                  Just made me go...huh? o.O


                  Thanks guys!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TuathaSidhe View Post
                    Trad Craft is a clergy based goddess worshiping path who honor the goddess and the horned god...that is the "true" traditional witchcraft.
                    Erh... that I'd take exception to. In my experience there is a damn sight more focus on a dual god (not two gods, just one who plays two roles, probably related to the Bucca), and very little, if any, interaction with anything you might call a "Goddess".

                    Clergy? Maybe. But not in the sense of pastor and flock. As another poster said, "Head of the Family", but also "Second In Line For Head", and "People who can also take over if the other two die horribly." And then, 'course, everyone else.

                    Oddly enough, anyone not related by blood to the family wasn't taught about it. Which means husbands and wives were utterly, -UTTERLY-, ignorant as to what their spouses were getting up to. And that there was nothing in the way of "sexual fertility magick" being done... for, eh... obvious reasons.

                    People are doing their best to cram things into a Wiccan mold, because that's the comfortable one they know of. If Wicca is different from this "other stuff", it may just poke holes in their belief about the age and authenticity of Wicca... :?
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      EntwinedScylla wrote: Erh... that I'd take exception to. In my experience there is a damn sight more focus on a dual god (not two gods, just one who plays two roles, probably related to the Bucca), and very little, if any, interaction with anything you might call a "Goddess".
                      I know for my family it was more Spirit that was called upon. Almost genderless except to the content that it was seen more masculine / feminine depending upon who and why it was being done. For instance with moon rites for my sisters it was clearly feminine, for my part in understanding as a male it was semi-feminine. Yet very much masculine with regard to male mysteries.

                      Oddly enough, anyone not related by blood to the family wasn't taught about it. Which means husbands and wives were utterly, -UTTERLY-, ignorant as to what their spouses were getting up to. And that there was nothing in the way of "sexual fertility magick" being done... for, eh... obvious reasons.
                      For us one might, I say might be pulled in if they were deemed worthy by the elder. Though certain lessons and such were taught or shown so that the children were always influenced in the right way, even by those not part of the tradition.

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                      • #12
                        In The Tradition I was raised in and still follow there are 4 degrees and 6 levels within each degree, so basically you start off as a seeker and climb the levels after doing certain tasks, learning certain lessons, etc, You earn a level by doing this and then you earn another level and then after you have earned 6 levels you become a 1st Degree Shadak Witch and so on and so forth.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TuathaSidhe View Post
                          Say huh? I was just informed that Traditional Witchcraft has a clergy and degrees, and that basically I am not a Trad. Witch if I don't follow that.

                          So again...say huh? That sounds alot like Trad Wicca to me and not Trad Witchcraft.
                          Depends on the form. There are Traditional Witchcraft covens and groups that use a similar degree system and priesthood structure as Traditional Wicca. That's because they all have the same roots in the Western Occult revival of the 19th and 20th centuries, and in Fam Trad folk magic practices. Remember, Wicca is a specific religion that practices witchcraft. It is not the only form of Witchcraft religion, and Trad Wicca is but one form of Trad Witchcraft.

                          But, and this is just an outsider perspective here since I practise solitary(ish) Wicca, I wouldn't say that practising in a solitary system of a group that lacks a degree system would invalidate one's claim to being a Trad Witch. All that one requires is coming from a traditional witchcraft background with their practices.
                          Last edited by Louisvillian; January 31st, 2012, 01:17 AM.

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                          • #14
                            I have a lot of those who claim to follow "traditional witchcraft", but I'll try to leave them at the door before I start this.

                            First, "traditional witchcraft" is an exceptionally broad term, which can't really include any form of wicca because traditional implies, well, something with a history where at some point it has evolved to being non-traditional - and wicca is a 20th century religion.

                            Secondly, the idea of degrees is fairly recent. The first universities to exist were around the 1100s, and that was a very narrow sort of education, open to very few people with a system that wasn't really evident anywhere else except in religious institutions (not religions, but the institutions, primarily Catholicism). The term "degree" itself originated in the "early 13c., from O.Fr. degré (12c.) "a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position," said to be from V.L. *degradus "a step," from L.L. degredare, from L. de- "down"". Etymologically, the word isn't likely to have passed into common usage until the 19th century, when many people still couldn't read and would have no need to understand the notion of a degree.

                            Furthermore, in times where most people couldn't read or write (anywhere up until the Industrial Revolution, c.1750-1850), what need would they have for "degrees" or levels of any sort? People would simply progress. A more logical marker would be once they acquired a certain skill, or performed a certain act - but since skills and acts rarely occur in a routine order (for example, one may master herb-growing or gutting an animal, but neither has any reason to come before the other), there would no need to have a numbered system, more a "you can now sew" or "you are a herb-worker" or somesuch. Even in common trades there was simply an apprentice and master, not any degree or level except once one was on par with the master.

                            All these things lead me to believe that claiming anything about Traditional Witchcraft without quite a few scholarly articles to prove it, or a family tree with evidence of witches in it, is rather stodgy. Perhaps some families have been practicing for several generations, but family witchcraft is not necessarily traditional (as in, that which was practiced in the British Isles and Europe prior to the 17th century or thereabouts).

                            Additionally, I'm skeptical of the idea of covens existing anytime before the aforementioned industrial revolution. Perhaps teacher/learner crafters, but having a coven of witches just seems highly impractical, and at many times dangerous, an unworkable in a time when people spent their lives working to eat and survive, not to convene to worship the earth every moon-time with a group of like-minded people. Not to say witches didn't exist, just that I imagine they were solitary or else familial, and taught in the manner a mother teaches her child to wash their hair and brush their teeth and tie their laces and make lunch and so on. A part of life, not something separate which required levels to pass.

                            Just my two cents' worth - I did not intend to attack or offend anyone, so I hope I have not done so.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Humming Bird View Post
                              It sounds like they just assumed Wicca when they heard the term Witch.
                              i think so, as well. it's a common mistake, sadly.

                              ~ Mairwen

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