Air – Feel the breeze and the power of this element as it swirls the center.
Contemplating the need for a new way to express the 5 elements commonly used in Witchcraft, Wicca, and other forms of Paganism.
I am Pagan. I am Witch. Where do I go from here? I have not done anything relating to my spirituality for some time. Where do I go from here?
I watch Facebook, I belong to many groups. I offer my advice from my past experiences. I have ideas on content, yet my pages are blank. Where do I go from here?
This is not a crisis of faith.
I found this information on another site I found and thought it was be great to share.
There are many first qualities that a witch must learn to develop. The best one that I can recommend is the “Witches Pyramid” or the “Four Pillars of the Witches Temple.” This four Laws are very important and if you use them as your base, you cannot go wrong. Abide by them always and you can go wrong. They are Ancient by they still apply to today’s Witch.
The Four Pillars of Witches Temple
To Know (nescere)
-corresponds to Air
-represents the witch’s reason/intellect/intuition/wisdom and other more mystical understandings…
Basically this has to do with the gaining of knowledge, whether it be from books, teachers, or from experience. This also includes anything having to do with organizing said knowledge: remembering, analyzing, dissecting, logical reasoning, imagining, linking, and many more. This is shown in many kinds of knowledge needed to do ritual: from remembering the words to invocations, to knowing when to cast the circle, to knowing what incense to use, to remembering how it feels when one grounds correctly.
In witchcraft knowledge is power. No knowledge is ever wasted, and you may find that your fifth grade Creative Writing class taught you things useable for creating invocations, or that your Aunt Jean’s gardening tips are helping you with your herb growing, or your Tai Chi class helped get the idea of centering across.
The admonitions “Know Thyself”, “Know your Craft”, “Learn” and “Apply you Learning” are all included in the pillar.
To Will (velle)
-corresponds to Fire
-represents the witch’s Will/Discipline/her skills in the arts of magic and life.
This can be split into two categories: the mundane and the Magickal. The mundane is where a with tries to keep their life in good order, and to follow through on promises and commitments. The magickal version refers to the Will to see a spell or ritual to its completion, keeping the intent clear without letting oneself get distracted.
Concentration, Discipline and Drive are definitely a part of this, as well as Enthusiasm for doing ritual in the first place.
Placing one’s will in tandem with Divine Will is also included.
“Keep you thoughts and deeds in good order” and “Breathe and Eat correctly” belong here (though really just the act of living up to all the Goals could be listed inder0 “To Will”)
To Dare (audere)
-corresponds to Water
-represents the witch’s Emotions/Heart since the word courage derives from a word that means “heart”
“To Dar” encompasses the acts of facing fears, especially with regards to doing magick. Dare to experiment with what one has learned to gain more experience, like trying out that new astral travel technique or trance working. Dare to meet the Gods and interact with them. Dare to deal with inner darkness.
This is not to say that one must never feel fear. Fear must be felt and examined before it can be dealt with. The more one tries to hide one’s fear from one’s self, the more power that fear will have over one’s self. Facing the Shadow within can be more traumatic than facing the most awe-inspiring Deity. However, Starhawk mentions in her book The Spiral Dance, “Where there’s fear, there’s power.” One’s greatest fear can mask one’s greatest strength.
It must be stated that any emotion or personal attribute brought into a magickal circle will be increased and strengthened. This explains the admonition at the gateway “Better to fall upon this knife/Than enter here in fear, or strife”. Give strength to your courage.
To Keep [the] Silence (tacere)
-corresponds with Earth
“To Keep the Silence” is often interpreted as “To Keep Silent”: that is, to keep secret knowledge of witchcraft, of membership and places of meetings etc., except in cases of voucher-for persons. “To Keep Silent” is probably a good general practice since it keeps the foolhardy from trying things that might be dangerous or from getting flack from less sympathetic neighbors. This is, however, not the whole story.
“Silence” represents the ‘still point’… the silence within… The correspondence with Earth here also gives another hint of this interpretation, since in order to begin to work magick, we generally “ground” and “center” ourselves. It is difficult to keep clear one’s intent if other extraneous thoughts keep flitting by and being distracting.
Listening to the Gods and Nature (and other people for that matter) is also intimated since one cannot hear unless there is silence first.
Again, “Keeping your thoughts in good order” as well as “Meditate” come under this heading
To Go (ire)
-corresponds to Spirit
Some traditions use the fifth Element of Spirit as embodying the power “To Go”: to go forth, to journey, to make manifest, to evolve. Most traditions assign Spirit to the Gods, making spirit a combination of the other four elements in perfect balance.
If one sees each of these qualities written on a four-sided pyramid, “To Keep the Silence” would be on the base, with the other three (To Know, To Will, To Dare) rising from the base (ie. Earth, foundation) to meet at the top. All things begin and end in Silence.
All of these qualities must be developed to gain proficiency in magick.
The Way of the Goddess by Ly Warren-Clarke
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
Credit also give to Witches of the Craft for this content
“Emetic cathartic expectorant and emmenagogue, and of great value in atonic dyspepsia, asthma, bronchitis and croup. (The taste is so nauseating, that it may cause expectorant action.) Of value in pulmonary consumption, nervous irritation and helpful in lowering high pulse, and in heart disease and weakness and palpitation of heart of great use. For ringworm apply the fluid extract. Also good for torpid liver, scrofula, dysentery. It is applied to fungoid growths, ulcers fleshy excrescences, cancerous affections and as an escharotic. Sanguinaria root is chiefly used as an expectorant for chronic bronchitis and as a local application in chronic eczema, specially when secondary to varicose ulcers. In toxic doses, it causes burning in the stomach, intense thirst, vomiting, faintness vertigo, intense prostration with dimness of eyesight.”
"In a dark room a table sits, covered with the trappings of a witch. Chalice and Blade once sparkled in brilliance like the morning dawn. Candles that once burned brightly now sit dark and shadowy. Forgotten is the power that once flowed freely as spell was spoke and ritual performed. Absent are the deities and elements that journeyed at a plea or an offering. Now a fine layer of dust has covered those symbols of the craft like a soft cloth and obscured them from the view of those that would use them.”
I imagine this might describe an altar or two out there. I know it has described mine at least once maybe twice.
We all have lives outside of the craft and at times our altars can get relegated to becoming just another spot for the car keys or the loose change from your last soda or mineral water purchase. Unless your altar is in secluded sanctuary where no one ever sees it then don’t be surprised if it accumulates items other then what is supposed to be there. I myself have absently placed all sorts of mundane items on my altar, from keys to clothes. Yes, clothes. No I wasn’t using a t-shirt as an altar cloth. No matter how hard you try there will eventually be something on your altar that shouldn’t be there and you may not have done it.
I have found some items on my altar that I have no idea how they got there and I can only assume that my lovely house fae have helped out again.
You have found your altar under a pile of stuff, now what. (Even if your altar isn’t buried it can still benefit from a good cleaning.)
First get a small bowl or bucket with a cleaning solution mixed with fresh water. I prefer to use a solution that I make myself that way I know it won’t damage any of the items I wipe off. Also remove all the items off the altar, including the cloth if you use one.
If you use and altar cloth remove it and if it is washable then give it a once through in the olde washing machine. If it is a commercially made cloth be sure to read the cleaning instructions. If you have a cloth that is not able to be machine washed then perhaps a hand washing with a Woolite type product would be better. Again, check the cleaning instructions.
Not everyone uses an altar cloth and if you are one of those people, and you know who you are, just give the surface of the altar a good wipe down with the cleaning solution you have. Don’t forget to gently scrape of any wax from those nice candles. Dry the surface with a clean towel.
I like to press my altar cloths so they look crisp. I have also heard it is nice to use a lavender water spray as you iron.
Replace the cloth on the altar as you choose.
Now that the surface of the altar is clean and ready for our tools it is time to clean those tools.
Using the cleaning solution gently wipe down all of your tools. This includes any statues that you may have. Any porous items should be wiped with a clean dry rag and in the case of wood items a good wood cleaner could be used. Be sure to dry all items with a clean towel before replacing them on the altar.
If you have a nice silver chalice you might notice that it is not as silver as it used to be. Fingerprints cover the surface from all the times you have held it in a toast to the Gods. So how to do you get it back to the bright polished silver? Toothpaste. Yes, I said toothpaste. It is an inexpensive way to polish your silver items. Now before you run to the bathroom and grab the tube from the medicine cabinet you need to know one thing. It has to be the true toothpaste, not a gel or mixture thereof. It is best to get a brand like the traditional Colgate© or a natural toothpaste from your natural grocers.
“To clean off tarnish, coat the silver with toothpaste, then run it under warm water, work it into foam, and rinse it off. For stubborn stains or intricate grooves, use an old soft-bristled toothbrush.”
Be sure to empty all the ashes from your incense burners too. Many times I light a charcoal disk and realize that I am smelling incense when I haven’t placed any yet. It was actually the unburned incense that had fallen through the screen and is resting on the ashes from the previous time. Some people would say to dump the ashes outside, I just empty them into the trash since all the power of the incense has been spent and sent. Of course, don’t dump hot ash in the trash. DUH!
Empty out your offering bowl. This should be done outside to make one final offering. Wipe out the bowl and dry it with a clean towel.
Mirrors, crystal balls, and scrying bowls, wipe them off so that you can again see clearly what you are being shown.
If you have any other items that you place on your altar be sure they are clean and fresh.
Here is one thing that everyone should do when they are setting up their altar. (Or at least I think so)
Candle wicks. New candles come with long wicks as a rule and many people just light that long wick and move on. Most candle makers say that the wick should be cut to about ¼ inch in length. Why? Well I have found that if I do this then the candle burns more evenly. The wick should be trimmed whenever it gets very long. If have a torch when you light the candle it is time to trim the wick. Be careful when trimming a used wick as you can inadvertently break the wick down to the wax and then the candle is finished.
Now that the surface of your altar is clean and dry and your altar cloth is places as you like it is time to reset your altar. How you do this is completely up to you, there isn’t a right or wrong way to set up an altar.
After I have set my altar I like to give it a quick smudging and blessings with my favorite incense.
Keep it clean. The best way to do this is to use it. Your altar is less likely to gather dust and cobwebs if you are using it daily or every other day. If you notice a bit of dust on an item, give it a quick brushing with a cloth or even a Swiffer Duster©, they work great for altars. A complete wash down should be done at least once a month or as you feel the grime accumulating.
Keep it clean and let the power flow.