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Traditional Witchcraft and..."degrees"

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  • #16
    Originally posted by monsnoleedra View Post
    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.
    i never even heard the term "granny witch" until somewhere around 2001? it just seemed to appear.
    ~ Mairwen

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    • #17
      That's mostly a Wiccan thing yes. There are today, various teaching covens of traditional witchcraft which have their specific lineage and use a degree structure simply because it is an excellant way to train people in a tradition. However, traditionally witchcraft was a very solitary practice. It certainly has more practitioners today than at any point in history. It's a different world. Sure, every once in a great while individual practitioners would gather out of need to accomplish a thing, but its always been a rather lone wolf sort of path classically. The notion of a Coven emerged from the naming of peers during accusatory confessionals. Then Margot Murray had a hand in putting forth this idea of a "Coven" and the "Sabbatic Dance".

      Traditional practice was taught master to apprentice, as many trades are.
      As with any trades, you sometimes had workers guilds.

      That's were things like Freemasonry come from, a workers guild.
      I'm sure Cunningfolk sometyimes had something similar though not as ritualized or ceremonial.
      It might have simply been getting together for cofee while discussing the issues of the day concerning that profession.
      Actually Wicca gets its idea of three degrees straight from Freemasonry.

      In all honesty, Wicca takes more from Hellenic views of initiation and mystery cults here than European Cunning, much to the ire of one, Robert Cochrane.
      The Hellenics were very big into ceremonies of initiation and rebirth and that influence is felt today, as this is just one thing we have inherited from the Greek world.

      -and that is something i want to stress. Initiation is not about titles, its about experiencing some sort of gnosis, a mystery and thus being more than you previously were.
      You can get that in traditions that dont do formal initiation, but its more of a "wax on wax off"kind of learning.

      In fact early Wiccans did not consider themselves pagan because at the time that was akin to peast or common folk and they saw themselves as clergy.
      Cochrane said No, this has always been a tradition of the common folk and so there wasa class battle in the feud between Gardner and Cochrane.

      Wicca gets the notion from Freemasonry and the OTO., and even the Golden Dawn.

      But we dont live in a world were people are going to move and spend years learning under a teacher on a 1 on 1 setting.

      I've seen plenty of Cochrane and Stregan traditions cross-pollenate with Gardnerian and/or Alexandrian lines and take that ceremonial structure they use as a basic for coven work, becoming a covened tradition.

      Do you have to be initiatied to be a traditional witch? No, not formally i wouldn't say so... but you couldnt just decide you were either, someone had to teach it to you. it wasnt like it is today were people can just pick up a book and start calling themselves a witch. Because witchcraft has a lore and a culture about it, and the cunning traditions it emerged from wasn't just "whatever feels right" but had its own techniques and such that would be instructed, and these things were highly kept secret just as trade secrets today are kept secret.

      i've also seen traditional witches and even cunningfolk adopt a degree system today as a sense of gatekeeping. I do not see an ything wrong with that so long as you are looking after your own traditions and arent trying to tell others they cant practice theirs.

      i myself have ev en developed by own third degree system as a way of developing the adept of Tsalagi 'Cherokee' medicine.
      These structures do have their place.

      Originally posted by Mairwen View Post

      i never even heard the term "granny witch" until somewhere around 2001? it just seemed to appear.
      This is spot on, the word witch hasn't been taken in a positive light by the most traditional of people since the witch trials. To us the term witch means something completely different than what it means to most in the neopagan community. Traditional Witches tend to actually like the lore and image than have from being associated to the trials, but in traditional communities that actually have folk medicine going back.. calling someone a witch isa pretty accusatory of malice or working in sin/taboo.
      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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      • #18
        Originally posted by Humming Bird View Post
        Margot Murray
        Margaret



        ~ Mairwen

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Mairwen View Post

          Margaret


          Yep i got them half mixed-up. Thank you for that clarification.
          Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
          (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
          anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

          Comment


          • #20
            i figured you're welcome
            ~ Mairwen

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