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                              Hill Country Pagan Grove 
                                Austin, Texas, U.S.A.  
            
            Published December 1982 by C.C.C. Creative Cooperative  Consolidated
          12611 Research Blvd. Number 125 Austin, Texas 78759 U.S.A.  
            
           First edition, December 1982 Second edition, revised, April 1983  
            
           PREFACE  
            
            Some have  asked how this little  booklet came into being.  It's all
          very straightforward: as the  most visible representatives of paganism
          here in  Austin, Texas, I  and my consort, Arnthor  Phalius, are asked
          often  to appear  in public  to talk  about witchcraft.  The questions
          included here  are those most often  asked, along with  the answers we
          give.  
            
            Of course  we  cannot pretend  to  speak for  all Pagans,  only  for
          ourselves.  But  the  little  booklet  has  been  well-received  as  a
          non-threatening  method  of  getting  to know  a  subject  like Wicca.
          Occasionally  we will  find someone who  has had  negative experiences
          with  persons who  call themselves  Wiccans or  Witches, and  in those
          cases  they  expressed relief  on find  that  `other types'  of Pagans
          existed than those which had given them their initial bad impressions.
            
            The Directory* is an individual effort at networking in the Sunbelt.
          Here in Texas there are many traditions and varieties of Paganism, and
          if  one  isn't  to be  alone,  one  must  learn  that there  are  more
          similarities  than  differences  in   Paganism  and  the  other  major
          religions.  Pagans have  always known this,  but for  various reasons,
          have not stepped forward as representatives of this view.  
            
           I (Merlana) am a mystic who responds to the Universal Mind as it is 
          expressed in Nature. It  is my deep belief that persons  who reverence
          these  principles are  unified at  bottom, and  separated only  by the
          illusion  of words, which are not reality. Sometimes words aren't even
          adequate representations of `Reality`!  
            
            It is my  intention in this little booklet to  re-define some issues
          and terms in the  way that my tradition sees them.  It so happens that
          much  of the  rest of  Paganism falls  within this  general framework.
          (NOTE: A  `tradition' is a varietal type, like `denomination').  
            
            If youalready know the subject and wish to differ, your comments are
          welcome. If you are new to the subject, perhaps here  you'll find some
          questions  answered, and (if wanted) fellowship with others who are on
          similar paths. Directory* listings are free to those in the Sunbelt of
          the USA (South and Southwest.) New editions are published irregularly.











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            If you don't live in  the Sunbelt, but have goods or  services which
          interest Pagans, you may also put an ad into the Directory.* Write for
          details.  
            
           Blessed be, Merlana April 1983  
            
           1. WHAT IS WICCA?  
            
          `Wicca' (pronounced Wick-ah) is one name given to the Nature religions
          practiced in Northern Europe and the Middle East from the times of the
          ice ages. It is one spiritual path out of many in a group of spiritual
          practices  known  as  NeoPaganism.   NeoPaganism  is  currently  in  a
          world-wide revival, led by persons and groups in the United States and
          Britain.  
            
           2. HOW DO WICCA AND NEOPAGANISM FIT TOGETHER?  
            
           Wicca is one subsidiary form, or `tradition,' similar to the way 
          Christianity has  many forms.  One can  be  a Christian  and still  be
          Baptist, Methodist  or Roman Catholic. In  the same way, one  can be a
          Pagan  but   ascribe  to   another,  more  specific,   sub-variety  of
          philosophy.  
            
           3. IS IT THE SAME AS WITCHCRAFT?  
            
           One linguistic theory has the word Wicca coming from Olde English  
          `Wicca-Craeft', meaning `craft of the wise ones.' Most followers of  
            Wicca (and most Pagans) prefer not to use  the terms `witchcraft' or
          `witch' because of the emotional connotations these words carry in our
           society.  
           
           Generally, one who calls him or herself a `witch' without further 
          qualifications is seeking notoriety and special attention. Those of us
          who guard  the  portals of  personal  Power (like  Carlos  Casteneda's
          character Don Juan) are normally hard to find or engage in discussion.
          Our Mysteries  are carefully hidden from the world, and from those who
          might be tempted to misuse them.  
            
           4. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT GOD?  
            
           Although Pagans generally agree that one God exists and is the same 
          regardless of name,  they vary in specific  concepts about God,  as in
          other religions.  
            
            What  an individual  Pagan holds  is strictly  a matter  of personal
          belief.  However, occasionally  a tradition will teach highly-specific
          concepts,  structures  and  mythologies.   If  one  finds  oneself  in
          disagreement,  the  best  policy   is  `voting  with  the  feet',   or
          withdrawing to find another group who better agrees.  
            
            NOTE: Sometimes it may be easierto gather together a group of people
          who  believe  as you  do to  form an  entirely  new group.  That's the
          purpose of networking, or what the booklet is designed for.  
            




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            Most  Wiccans divide the  Godhead (generally conceived  of as Mother
          Nature) into two forces. One force is male and the  other female. They
          are called respectively: The God and The Goddess.  
            
            Between them, these two divinities create balance and harmony in the
          Eternal  Dance.  They  represent  the  forces  of  birth,   death  and
          regeneration symbolized  in the  change of the  seasons. Wiccans  call
          5this cycle The Wheel Of The Year. Most rituals celebrate the Wheel Of
          The Year and our  deep, meaningful participation in natural  cycles of
          change.  
            
            Because the male force has been in ascendancy for thousands of years
          due  to the Christian, Moslem and Jewish religions, there is presently
          a  tendency to emphasize The  Goddess, especially by  feminists (or by
          those whose personal concept of God happens to be female).  
            
            We also believe in  Magick, which is a partnership  between humanity
          and  the Universal Mind. This  partnership creates changes  in what we
          normally call `reality', i.e.,  change accomplished with prayer. These
          changes can seem miraculous or merely coincidental, and always include
          personal effort. Magick is not the same as `wishing.'  
           
           5. WHAT HAPPENS AT A WICCAN CEREMONY?  
            
            There  are  several  types  of  get-togethers  that  Pagans  of  all
          traditions  attend. The most available  and open is  called a `Grove,'
          where those who wish  may study both spiritual and  ceremonial topics.
          Most  groves emphasize fellowship  and harmony  of mind  between their
          members.  You should  choose one as  much for  how you  blend with the
          personalities of the members as for a particular brand of teaching.  
            
            Eight  times  a  year, at  the  solstices  and  equinoxes, May  Day,
          Halloween,  and other  points  on the  lunar  calendar, Pagans  gather
          together  (usually outdoors under  trees) to celebrate  Nature and the
          turn of the seasons.  
            
            These  celebrations consist  of  dancing,  prayer, invocations,  and
          rituals passed down from the many traditions through the ages. We also
          urge participants to develop and use their own original rituals and to
          share them with others.  
            
            Because we  dance and  pray in  a standing  Circle  (or sometimes  a
          spiral),  and because  we  draw  at  these  times  from  the  Universe
          spherical energies of protection and power - these meetings are called
          (appropriately enough!) Circles.  
            
           6. HOW CAN I ATTEND A GROVE OR CIRCLE?  
            
            Wiccans and  Pagans tend to  be very  private, and do  not advertise
          their faith at publicly as  some others might. This is mainly  because
          of past persecutions. However, for those who are sincerely interested,
          there  always  exist  persons with  whom  to  visit  and explore  that
          interest. Check the Directory* at the  back of this booklet for  names
          of others who are open to contacts.  
            



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            If you are sincere and rally want to setout upon the Pagan path, the
          first step  is to find a  Grove to study  with. After a  Grove accepts
          you, eventually you will attend Circles.  
            
            7. DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY OTHERSPIRITUAL PATHS TO BECOME A WICCAN? 
                That will depend on  the tradition and the teacher.  In general,
          Pagans  are most tolerant of any philosophical structure, and ask only
          that  the tolerance  be  returned. You  will  not be  requested  to do
          anything that differs with your beliefs and spiritual needs.  
            
           8. DOES BEING PAGAN MAKE A PERSON SPECIAL OR DIFFERENT?  
            
            Well  yes, of  course. But  the special  qualities are  available to
          everybody.  Everything that  Pagans do  with Magick  is done  in other
          religions by  other names. It  is only that  we have found  that these
          particular formulas, beliefs, and celebrations work best for us.  
            
            These  are varying approaches to (and grasps of) personal Power. One
          way of recognizing someone who is truly Powerful is to note whether he
          or she seems to need control  or influence over others. True  personal
          power is content to control only the self, and personal reality.  
            
           9. DO YOU CAST SPELLS ON OTHER PEOPLE? 
            
            The major law in  our religion is: "Do what you will,  an it hurt no
          other." (The Golden Rule)  
            
            In  other words, no  one is  prevented from  exploration of  God and
          GodSelf as long as others are not harmed.  
            
           We do believe in directing the energies of the universe toward 
          accomplishment  of  certain ends,  but  magick is  never  effective on
          another person  unless the person  specifically requests it  and takes
          responsibility for that request.  
            
            Attempts  at  so-called `black'  magick,  or  use of  the  universal
          energies for  negative  or harmful  purposes,  only result  in  karmic
          backlash  magnified at  least  threefold on  the unfortunate  would-be
          black magician.  
            
            Our  tradition  does  not believe  in  the  possibility of  `psychic
          attack',  and hence  does  not teach  methods  for combating  it.  Our
          philosophy tells us that to raise  a force against `psychic attack' is
          only to create that which you fear.  
            
           10. ARE PAGANS ANTI-CHRISTIAN?  
            
            No.  But  many Christians  are  anti-Pagan.  Historically there  has
          existed an adversary relationship  between Christianity and the Nature
          Religions  (largely created by Christians.)  
            
           It takes much universal love not to strike back when attacked, and 
          occasionally  a Pagan  might seem  bitter or  afraid as the  result of
          anti-Pagan  treatment.  This  is  only  a  personal  reaction,  not  a
          characteristic of the religion itself.  



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            It is also true that Wiccans and Pagans have suffered dismissal from
          jobs and worse simply from their religious affiliation being revealed.
          Events like  these lead  to a  certain caution and  sometimes even  an
          attitude approaching mild paranoia.  
            
           11. WHO IS IN CHARGE OF PAGANISM?  
            
            Each person is in  charge of him or herself,  responsible totally to
          Godd/ess.  One might  hear  an individual  called  High Priestess,  or
          Priest,  but  this title  has  more  to do  with  the  role played  in
          ceremonies than with status in any formal hierarchy.  
            
            Groves  and  teaching  groups   sometimes  have  various  levels  of
          initiation, but again, these are individual to each tradition.  
            
            12. WHAT MAKES WICCA DIFFERENT FROM  OTHER PATHS THAT BELIEVE IN THE
          PSYCHIC POWERS?  
            
            We usually  find that people most often comment on the robes and the
          tools.  Traditionally  we  wear  special garments  while  engaging  in
          devotions, as a male Jew wears prayer shawl and skullcap. The garments
          have symbolisms, and stand for beliefs of the person wearing them.  
            
            The tools  are: a cup, knife,  staff (or wand), and  the pentacle, a
          5-pointed star with 5th point upward, enclosed in a circle.  
            
            For those familiar with the tarotcards, this was the original source
          of the  tarot suits as  well as  many meanings and  symbolisms in  the
          tarot deck.  
            
           13. WHAT IS DONE WITH THE TOOLS?  
            
            They  are used, along with  other objects, like  candles, bells, and
          incense  to focus  energies and  influence  Universal forces  with our
          prayers.  If the  format reminds  you of  Roman Catholic  mass, that's
          because much of the indigenous Nature Religion's mysteries were  
          `adopted'  when  Christianity  moved  into  Northern  Europe  --  into
          England, Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia ... the lands of the Celts.

            
            Also,  if  the  tools and  concepts  seem  to  resemble elements  in
          Rosicrucianism, the Caballa, and the Masonic Temple, it is because the
          latter paths drew and adopted Pagan  rituals and forms for other uses.
          Since  ours was an oral  tradition we gratefully  acknowledge the role
          these organizations played  in bringing to modern  times knowledge and
          insights which have otherwise been lost.  












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           Here's a bit of trivia: Although the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. 
          generally held indifferent attitudes  about Christianity they were all
          thirty-third degree Masons. Obviously they sought to incorporate their
          high  ideals  into  writing  our  first constitution.  This  odd  fact
          explains  to  some  people   why  fundamentalist  Christians  and  the
          constitution occasionally seem to be at cross-purposes.  

           14. HOW LARGE IS THE RELIGION?  
            
            Since Wicca, or Paganism, is an alternative religion uninterested in
          power  or clout,  we  measure our  `size'  usually only  by  spiritual
          growth. There  is a  national newspaper  published quarterly  by which
          many Pagans keep in touch.  
            
           15. WHAT ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY? 
            
            That's magick, too!  Craft practitioners of old  WERE the scientists
          ...  there  was  need  for  healers  and herbalists,  agriculture  and
          astronomy experts.  The scientific method has now  made teaching these
          subjects  respectable in universities. But in the process we have lost
          the lore's  former integration  of the spiritual  relationship between
          God Expressed As Nature and ourselves.  
            
            Manyof us are scientifically trained and hold technological jobs and
          interests. This does not interfere with but only adds to  a desire for
          ritual  celebration and  union  with Godd/ess.  Also  many of  us  are
          ourselves  practicing psychics,  or  are  interested  in  extrasensory
          perception  (ESP)  and   its  uses.     Paganism  makes  available   a
          philosophical structure for all of these ends utilized effectively for
          millennia.   It  urges individuals  to develop  their personal  powers
          within that structure and to use them thereafter in a responsible way.


























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            16. THAT'S SOMETHING ELSE: WHY DON'T I EVER HEAR OR READ ABOUT PAGAN
          CHARITIES OR GOOD WORKS?  
            
            Good news makes terrible press. News  media and supermarket tabloids
          would much rather print  scandal and controversy. How many  times have
          you  seen a  headline that  attributed a  person's conduct  to his/her
          belief in Witchcraft? Do you ever see the same types  of stories about
          Moslems, Jews or Christians?  
            
            In addition, organized charity can only be accomplished undercertain
          forms  of  organized  religious  structures.  That  takes  leadership,
          delegation of  powers, community  resources and accumulation  of money
          and collective wealth.  
            
            We focus  instead on  personal responsibility and  the necessity  of
          reflecting Godd/ess in our  characters and lives. Occasionally persons
          in  the Craft  will join  together to  change a  situation or  to help
          someone, but this is  always done quietly and with  the full knowledge
          and  permission of those for whom the  help of change in requested. It
          is always done  without taking  public credit. We  feel that  Godd/ess
          knows, and that is all we need.  
            
           17. HOW CAN WE SUM THIS UP IN A FEW WORDS?  
            
            Wicca, a  branch of  the spiritual  movement called Neopaganism  (or
          Paganism) is  primarily a religion of  personal, mystical relationship
          between  the Universal Mind as expressed in Nature and the individual.
          It  believes in  Magick,  or positive  change  wrought by  prayer  and
          ceremonial  ritual. It brings its  practitioners the joy  of union and
          harmony with Godd/ess  as expressed  in Nature as  well as  fellowship
          with other persons who  are on similar paths.  Personal responsibility
          and growth are stressed, dogma and rigid beliefs are discouraged.  
            
                          MAY GODD/ESS SPEAK TO YOU 
                          IN THE VOICE YOU HEAR BEST. 
                          BLESSED BE! 





















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