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UNIVERSALITY OF WITCHCRAFT AND PAGANISM

By Blue


From the time man walked on earth, worship of life sustaining elements - air, water, wind, rains, plants, earth, fire, sun, and others - has been the first religion. And man must have prayed to them with great awe for sustenance, blessings and protection, for himself and his own. Thus paganism and witchcraft came into existence.

Witchcraft is using of natural powers, herbs, prayers and chants in healing and seeking help of universal powers. Paganism is worship of nature and forces of nature as forms of godhood, and also worship of the universal energy as God and Goddess.

The birth of formal religions took place much later. Most religions have a great deal of paganism and witchcraft included in them.

Followers of all religions celebrate rites as per the moon cycles, the changing of seasons, the harvest festivals, and prayers for protection of self, family, wealth, community, worship of God with one name or several forms and names. Usage of herbs and chants are common to most households.

Then why are paganism and witchcraft besmirched, banned and feared so much by certain religions? And why are there misconceptions in the minds of people about stinky fumes, warts, cats and bats, pointed droopy hats, dark robes and shrieks in the nights?

History tells us that when the priests and leaders of certain religions felt their control and power over common folks slip away due to the goodness, healing and prayers of wise medicine men and women, they ostracized them. They did not want the common folks to depend on anyone but them. The healers hid in deep forests to save their lives, and visited the villages at midnight with faces hidden and in dark garbs to heal the sick or procure staples.

Those who took help and those who helped such healers were also punished. In order to ensure their control was complete, the religious leaders ordered the torture and hanging or burning of tens of thousands of such healers/witches. The healers used certain code words for the life saving herbs and plants such as toad's toe and bat's wings to prevent the misuse of their valuable knowledge by those in power!! Later on, laws were passed in some countries banning witch hunting and killing, but a great deal of knowledge and wisdom was already wiped out by that time.

The Hindu religion - Sanathana Dharma (The Universal Religion) - has as its integral part, witchcraft and paganism as they are understood today. The oldest of written books available today, the Rig Veda, gives beauteous description of nature and worship of nature in its various forms. All elements of nature are worshipped as Gods and Goddesses. The Vayu Devata (wind god), Varuna Devata (rain god), the Bhu Mata (mother earth), the Surya Devata (the sun god), Go Mata ( the mother cow), Agni Devata (fire god) are deities who are worshipped in the every Hindu household.

The Hindu religion is vast and encompasses various schools of thoughts, with as many schools for as many of the stages of development of the aspirants!! There are some who worship Godhood in form of The Spirit and others who worship the functions of Godhood in multitude of forms. Hinduism does not teach blind faith but teaches testing of every truth by checking it - neti, neti, neti, … not this, not this, not this,… this is not the truth and ultimately what is left is the truth!

The Sama Veda contains ragas or tunes, songs in praise of Nature and Godhood. The songs and tunes are very scientific and are used in sound therapy. Each raga produces specific results like causing rains, healing of sick, increasing valor, giving peace of mind etc. The Atharva Veda contains spells and chants, for both black and white purposes with specific warnings of consequences in misusing of the spells. Use of mantra or chants for mundane goals is normal in all Hindu households.

The harvest festivals which offer thanksgiving to Mother Nature and Mother Earth for their bounties, the festivals marking changing of direction of sun, the equinoxes, the eclipses, the seasons, festivals for various god and goddesses are celebrated all over India with great gusto and fervor. Respect for nature and nature protection and conservation is a part of the Hindu philosophy.

During worship, the marking of scared space by mantras (spells and chants) and little drawings or symbols called rangolis are done. Sprinkling of holy water, clearing the space with burning of incense and camphor, the invoking of directions, gods, planets for specific purposes by chants, lighting of lamps add great power to worship. All worship is done by the lunar calendar.

Worship is offered in homes, temples and in open spaces too to honor nature and earth. Offering of consecrated food to insects, birds, animals before eating food oneself is a daily Hindu thanksgiving ritual. The rule of chanting and asking by threes holds here.

Every village has its own group of medicine men and women who are traditional healers. Their powers, wisdom and training are passed on from generation to generation. They heal by touch, mantra or spells, and herbs. Some are truly gifted. They can heal scorpion stings and poisonous snake bites by mere touch! They are respected and venerated by the common man. Most temple priests heal by chants and sprinkling of consecrated water on the sick person.

The use of herbs and plants in healing is well known to all Hindus. The usage of herbs such as turmeric for antiseptic purposes, for healing of stomach ulcer, as epilator, for face packs and skin softeners; the fenugreek seeds for healing of period pains, stomach ulcers, increasing stamina and resistance power, as hair softener, as skin softener and dandruff remover are common. Varieties of such herbs are found in the home of the Hindu who usually runs to the kitchen for medication rather than go to doctor or pharmacists for small ailments.

Healing by energy, the pranic system is extremely well developed in India. The knowledge and application of Chakra systems and aura in healing is used by pranic healers. Meditation, pranayama or breathing patterns, body postures are a part of average Hindu life.

The average witch or pagan of the yore would be deeply respected and accepted by the Hindus of past and today as a brother/sister!!

I speak in detail about the Hindu way of life, for in this birth, this soul wears the robes of a Hindu. While a rose by another name, still smells the same; a chrysanthemum by any other name is easier to spell. And any pagan or witch will understand what I mean

 



 

Copyrighted 2002 by The Wayfinder for and on behalf of The Temple of the Way. All rights reserved.