We are lucky enough to have two locations where we meet regularly, both in Laurel, MD. The main covenstead is in the Maryland City section of Laurel. Typically, regularly scheduled classes, Sabbat celebrations, and workshops are held there, in an indoor sanctuary. The second location is in West Laurel. There we have both an indoor and an outdoor sanctuary. We meet there for Full Moon celebrations and occasionally for special workshops.
There are two questions you need to answer first.
One, are you local to Laurel, MD? If no, why not check out your local listings at the Witchvox (http://www.witchvox.com) to find a teaching group in your area. If so, proceed to question two.
Two, are you over twenty-one (21) years of age? If so, great! Drop us an email introducing yourself and we’ll talk. If no, not until you’re over 21. Why, you ask? For your protection as well as ours. See the question on age for an explanation.
Many teens are very interested in Wicca for many reasons, some good, some not so good. This is great for the religion as they bring vitality and new perspectives. It poses a serious dilemma for teachers, though.
Paganism is not yet well accepted in the mainstream religious community. Many people, with the best intentions in their heart, firmly believe that no matter what actual, practicing Pagans say, Paganism in all its forms is evil. It is their right to believe this, but it makes it hard when you’re the kid of someone who feels this way, and you feel pulled to a Pagan Path.
When a minor requests teaching of a legal adult, they put that teacher in danger. Yes, danger. The teacher risks everything from being sued or arrested to losing their jobs or getting beat up in a back alley. Does this sound drastic and fantastical? Yes. Does it happen? Yes. Parents who feel that Wicca is evil are not going to sit quietly while their precious son or daughter goes off to study it, and their anger is likely going to be focused on the person “facilitating” this, or in other words, the teacher.
Aside from dangers to a teacher, there are good reasons for any teen to wait to find a teacher. When you are a teen it is a time of growth and exploration. You are learning to be a grown-up, a person with interests and opinions all your own. This is a time when you should be trying all sorts of things to find out what they’re like. Do you really want yet another person telling you what to believe and how to feel about the world?
If you really feel called to Wicca, then here is what I* recommend. These recommendations work for non-teens, too.
Read. Read everything you can get your hands on, fiction, non-fiction. Read mythology, physics, biology, history and chemistry. These five subjects actually correspond to the five elements. Earth=biology, Air=history, Water=physics,
Fire=chemistry and Spirit=mythology. They will give you a good, solid understanding of the world around you, and remember we’re a NATURE-based religion, so if you want to understand Nature, you have to study Her. Another good reason to read in these five subjects is that none of them are “overtly Pagan”, so if your parents don’t approve, they won’t necessarily realize what you’re reading is part of the fundamental base of your Pagan studies. If you can get away with it, try reading a few comparitive religions books, and attending services of as many different churches and religions as possible.
Spend as much time as you can outside. Observe the world around you. Write and/or draw in a journal what you see, the people, the plants, animals, buildings. Watch the cycles of the changing seasons. Learn the feel of the Earth around you. If you can, plant a garden. Even for brown-thumbs like me, growing a plant gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment and connection. All of this will give you a solid, healthy basis for beginning classes on the Wiccan religion. In fact, it’ll probably put you miles ahead of most people!
Wicca was founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s in England after the repeal of the Anti-Witchcraft Laws. Gardner claimed that he came from a long line of witches who had existed “underground” from ancient times. While the validity of these claims is suspect according to modern research, Gardner still had brought forth a religion that resonated with many people, most especially in the fact that it included Goddess worship.
This started the first Tradition, or Trad, of Wicca. There are many, many Trads in the world today, including Gardnerian (practicing Wicca as Gardner practiced it), Alexandrian (based on the teachings of Alex Sanders, who based his variation on Gardner), Eclecticism (take from many different sources to create a whole), Lycian (shamanic Wicca), Dianic (female/Goddess only Wicca) and many, many, many more.
Wicca is a nature-based, dualistic religion that worships both a God and a
Goddess. It fits under the “umbrella” of neo-Pagan religions. It is often
referred as “the Craft of the Wise”, or just simply “the Craft”.
Witchcraft is a system of Magick working that, generally speaking, is more
nature-, elemental- and spell-based, ie. candle-magick, poppet magick, etc. and
it is practiced by “witches”. This is as opposed to “high magick” practiced by
“magicians”, which is more based on numbers and words and is less physically
oriented and more intellectually oriented.
The Circle of the Silver Phoenix is an open teaching Circle in Laurel, MD.
We are the first daughter circle of the Chantry of the Silver Veil
(http://www.silverveil.org). The Circle of the Silver Phoenix hived off from the
Chantry of the Silver Veil. The Chantry was incorporated as a church in the state of
Virginia in 2003 and is a 501(c)3.
We are not a coven, as covens are usually closed (i.e. they are member only).
If you are interested in taking classes from us,or celebrating the Sabbats and
Esbats with us, please email us. We practice Eclectic Wicca, and have as many
influences as we have members. Our emphasis is on in-person teaching and outreach.
Neo-Paganism and Paganism are often used interchangeably to describe modern nature-based or magick-based religious systems. Neo-Paganism is more correct, as most of these religious systems are new reconstructions or creations, including Wicca.
Wiccans believe in a God and Goddess, usually referred to as the Lord and the
Lady. They believe in a balance of all things, that both light and dark are equally
important, that life and death are both part of the cycle of life. Men and women
are considered equals, neither one more important than the other.
Wiccans generally follow two liturgical statements:
* The Wiccan Rede – An it harm none, do what ye will
* The Rule of Three – Whatever you do will come back to you threefold
They also have some pieces of liturgy they generally agree on, such as the
Charge of the Goddess (http://home.earthlink.net/~wilhelmina_d/bos/liturgy.html#charge),
and the Principles of Wiccan Belief (http://home.earthlink.net/~wilhelmina_d/bos/liturgy.html#principles), for example.
We offer a three-year program of classes in our tradition. Note that there is a
strong theme of ethics running all through our classes.
The first year (Neophyte) covers such areas as the Wheel of the Year, the Wiccan
Rede, healing, divination, and magick. During the year, you will focus on your
individual pantheon. At the end of the year, if all requirements have been met,
you may be elevated (initiated).
The second year (Apprentice – first degree) covers many of the same areas as the
first year, but in more depth and with more hands-on experience. One of the
requirements for this year is to lead a full moon circle. During this year, you
will determine what your path is (teacher/healer/guardian/etc.).
The third year (Second degree) covers additional material, such as guardianship,
teaching, pathworking, etc. One of the requirements is to lead a Sabbat ritual.
During this year you will determine what your role and participation will be as
an Adept (third degree).
Yule/Winter Solstice – on or around December 21. – This is a time for introspection
of the year past and planning for the upcoming year. The Goddess is Crone at
this time of year. This is a holiday of lights and candles, as we face the
darkness and the bitter cold and know that the sun is returning, even though we
cannot tell from the way things look just now.
Imbolc/Candlemas – February 2. – Believe it or not, as nasty as this time of year
often is, here are the stirrings of Spring. The Goddess is Maiden here, young
and inexperienced. Here we plant the seed for the shape this year will take in
our lives. This is a good time to make important changes in your behavior.
Ostara/Vernal Equinox – on or around March 21. – First day of Spring, trees are
beginning to bloom, grass is starting to turn from brown to green, Life is awakening
all around us. Open your eyes to the newness in yourself, and nurture it. Prepare
your garden for planting or begin something new.
Beltane/May Day – May 1. – This is a day of Sacred Love, of the joining of the
Lord and Lady. This is a day for fertility of all kinds, whether creativity or
trying to have children. This is a great day for Maypoles, as twining the ribbons
around the pole represents the joining of the Lord & Lady.
Litha/Summer Solstice – on or around June 21. – Midsummer, a time for Faeries
and Little People. This is the longest day of the year, and a great day to honor
those unseen spirits that so enrich your life. Let your heart be full of passion
and fullness on this day, as full and firey as the Sun is this day.
Lammas/Lughnassadh – August 2. – The first of the three harvests. A time to
assess what you have done and what you still have to do this year. The scents
of baking bread and late summer fill the air. Grain and corn hang heavy on the
stalk, bees buzz merrily on their way through the gloaming of a summer afternoon.
Mabon/Autumnal Equinox – On or around September 21. – The time has come to harvest
apples and squashes, before the frosts begin. We are starting to look at the
coming winter and prepare ourselves. We stock up things that will last us through
the Winter and start to use up that which will go bad before Spring comes again.
It is a time of business and preparation. This is a great time for housecleaning,
and changing over to Winter wardrobes.
Samhain/Halloween – October 31. – Our most solemn holiday. The last of the fruit
and grain has been harvested. It is a time when Death walks near, looking for
the weak and the sick. It is a time when the veils between worlds grows thin,
much like the other Sabbats, but in this case the veil is between the living and
the dead. We honor our ancestors for bringing us to where we are today, and
mourn our year’s dead. Still we dance in the face of Death, celebrating the
fact that we still live.
Witch, Wiccan Pagan F.A.Q.s,” Witches’ Voice, at http://www.witchvox.com/basics/wfaq.html
Alt.Religion.Wicca Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ),” at http://www.faqs.org/faqs/religions/wicca/faq/
Witchcraft: Commonly-Asked Questions, Straightforward Answers,” Covenant of the Goddess, at: http://www.cog.org/wicca/faq.html
Wicca ~ Witchcraft: Frequently Asked Questions – Straightforward Answers!,” American Wicca, at: http://www.americanwicca.com/faq/
Frequently Asked Questions,” Silver Wolf’s Lair, at: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/spiritwolf/wicca_faq.htm
FAQs about Wicca: General questions that people ask from Religious Tolerance.org
Not all Wiccans practice magick. Some Wiccans prefer just to worship the Lord
and the Lady, without using magick. You can also practice magick and be a
Witch without being a Wiccan. Most Wiccans, however, do practice magick.
Here are two popular definitions of magick:
MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will. –
Magick in Theory and Practice by Aleister Crowley (1929)
Magick is “the art of changing consciousness at will.” – Starhawk
Some people do magick with fancy tools, robes and spells, some with only
visualization or meditation and everything in between. The way you do it isn’t
as important as the end goal. That goal is, or should be, to change *yourself*,
which will then change the world around you.
Wiccans often, but not always, spell magick with a “k” when they are referring
to metaphysical or occult magick, as opposed to stage magic. According to
Wicca: For the Rest of Us, Alastair Crowley is the one who first started
using the “k” in magick.
NO! Satan is a Christian deity. He is the polar opposite of the Christian God.
He has no place whatsoever in Wicca, and we do not worship Him, any more than
we worship the Christian God. We have our own deities, thank you very much.
Wiccans gather about 21 times a year to celebrate, 8 times for Sabbats, or sun
holidays, and 13 times for Esbats, or full moons. Some Wiccans also gather for
either New Moon Esbats and/or Diana’s Bow (about 3 days after New Moon when you
can again see the moon), but the Silver Veil does not. For a list of Esbat and
Sabbat dates, please click here.
When we worship/celebrate we generally will cast a circle, and invoke the
elements and invite the Lord and Lady to attend. We do whatever we are there
for – i.e. magickal working, celebrating the holiday, healing, etc. Once that’s
done, we have cakes and ale (i.e. food and drink – the traditional name is cakes
and ale, but we’ve had everything from bread and juice to lollipops and
lime-green Kool-Aid as our “cakes and ale”). Then we close the Circle with
thanks to the Lord and Lady, and the elements that attended. Then we go, and
in our Circle, have a potluck.