Categories
Census Update Research

The Witchcraft Census: Round 2

102 magical practitioners took the Witchcraft Census 2.0. The census was open from August 2021 to August 2022. I’m closing this round of the census and will soon start contacting those who indicated that they’d be open to being interviewed.

The methodology for this census was by no means perfect, and you should view this information knowing the flaws involved in gathering it. It was circulated through online witch communities, specifically those most likely to be interested in answering these questions, including attendants of SASS Witch Con, at which I presented. Clearly this is not a proportionally representative sampling of witches, even in the US, from which most participants hail.

In this round of the census I gathered more data from participants, and more of the questions were freeform instead of multiple choice, allowing for more precise and varied answers than WC1.0. I recommend viewing this data in conjunction with WC1.0, as the two studies compliment each other, with answers and feedback from 1.0 informing the questions and structure of 2.0. At a later point I may do another round of questions using feedback from participants, but for now, enjoy the Witchcraft Census 2.0 in its complete form.

Categories
Artifacts Poppets

Creative Imagination Poppet, California

Collected April 2022

Earthywisewoman on Etsy

“These poppets were created from the energy and imagination of my 5 year old grandson. The material used for crafting these poppets were his old blue jeans, My little man loves to play outdoors; to talk to fairies and sing with the birds, He gives thanks to Deity and listens to her creatures. He tells stories of the bugs and rocks he comes across in the backyard, the park, the mountains and the beach. He imagination is amazing.


One day I was cutting his jeans to make them into shorts. I felt such love and imagination and wonder from the cloth that was left over I placed it in my temple space; and finished making his shorts.


I later crafted four poppets, one I kept and the other three I offer here.
As we get older we tend to forget our childhood imagination and creativity. This poppet will help you regain it and tap into. I found using it in meditation helped me use more of the right side of my brain. To get ideas I never had before. )0(“

Categories
Artifacts Interview Poppets

Remote Healing Poppet, New Jersey, USA

Donated by Wendy Wilson of Magic in Your Living Room, August 2021.

What can you tell me about the circumstances that led to this remote healing?

Well, some friends of the folks in the circle were seriously ill and in general, we want to send the healing out to “all who need it and can accept it.

How did you create the poppet?

I drew it on the computer, printed it on cotton on my fancy printer and sewed it and stuffed it. That cotton prepared for inkjet printers is a great invention.

Were there any special rituals you did during the construction?

The poppet was blessed during the beginning of the ritual.

Can you describe the healing ritual? How many people participated, how it went, etc? 

I should point out that my husband is a Reiki master and training in remote healing, but we wanted the power of the group to boost the effectiveness. There were six plus us, so 8 in total. We drummed up the power in the room, each person acting as leader for a time. When the lead switched, I lit a candle. At the end, we touched the poppet to hold the power. Then we raised the power in a traditional Wiccan raising and holding the poppet, we sent it out. 

What does raising power feel like to you?

I can feel the power come up from the earth, through the floor into my being. I know it’s not real, but the illusion is very strong and it seems to be effective. Real is one way of looking at things.

My husband says about reiki (he is a reiki master) that he doesn’t believe in reiki, he thinks it’s a pyramid scheme, but he has seen it work. I feel that way about healing rituals

After my father’s first heart attack, my husband and I did a reiki healing for him and he survived, which no one expected. We did not tell him about it, but my father said afterwards that he didn’t know what we did, but don’t do it again, allow nature to take its course. So he knew something had happened.

Did you or anyone else who partook in the remote healing feel side effects after the ritual?

 If any of us holds their hands apart and someone else put their own hands between them, the second person can sense the heat between their hands.

All the people we specifically did the ritual for survived their cancer, although one is still dealing with some aftermath of the treatment, but he is alive and functional. One person was told her chances were of surviving the operation were not good and she would be in the ICU for at least a week. A few hours after surgery, she messaged me with a photo of herself in a regular bed, not in the ICU. She is doing fine now.

Photo credit: Wendy Wilson

Categories
Altar Cloth Artifacts Interview

Four Corners of the Moon Altar Cloth, New Jersey, USA

Donated by Wendy Wilson of Magic in Your Living Room, August 2021.

How did you come to design this altar cloth?

I used to work for a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company (As you can imaging, I fit in REAL well), I was sitting in a boring meeting doodling (I suffer from ADD) and I drew the original. I already had in mind what I could do with the computer to make it shine. I took it home and redrew it on my computer and used the computer to enhance to the light emanations. 

Were you designing it for a specific ritual or season?

We did a “Drawing Down the Moon” ritual, with a slight change. Instead of the priest drawing down the moon into the priestess, we each empowered ourselves to draw down the moon into ourselves. This was used as the cover for that ritual.

Is there a particular philosophy behind this design?

Like the moon, we are all reflections of the sun. Like the moon, we live in phases, moving from child to youth to adult to sage. Like the moon, sometimes we shine brighter, but we are always beings of light, even at times when it is shaded. 

I know that for some, Drawing Down the Moon is a staple of their practice. Is it a ritual you do regularly? Does it have particular significance for you?

We just did it that once. Mostly, we only do rituals once or twice (which is what I have 3 loose leaf books filled with ritual programs.)  It was a moving ritual, but so was the Farewell to Colors, Descent into Darkness, The Magical Child and Sailing West.

Categories
Artifacts Books Interview

A Book of Simple Rituals: Ready to Use Pagan Rituals by Wendy Wilson, 2017, New Jersey, USA

Donated by Wendy Wilson of Magic in Your Living Room, August 2021.

Interview

How did you get involved with witchcraft?

A college girlfriend, Anita, (who, by the way, visited last week from Maryland) was a Wiccan and was studying with a priestess named Jackie. She invited me to a Beltane ritual and I realized that this was what I was looking for. Margot Adler describes it as a feeling you had “come home”, which exactly described my experience. This was in the 1980s.

When did you start writing rituals?

After Anita moved to Maryland, another friend approached me to create a Dianic circle with her. This group traded the role of priestess around and the priestess of the month usually got one or two people to help her create the rituals ahead of time. Because I had more experience that the others, I was often involved in creating the ritual and I was the person who created the programs for the rituals. Eventually, I found Dianic Wicca was not aligned with my ideas (my male cats were not welcome in the rituals…ridiculous). 

I practiced as a solitary (still using my own written rituals) until a former work colleague asked me to form a circle and lead it. I create and lead all the rituals for this group… and create the programs. This was how the altar cloths came about. The programs all had covers with graphics. I was encouraged to make them available to a larger group, so I had them printed on fabric and sold them as altar cloths.

How has your ritual creation evolved over time?

I have always minimalized the role of humanized deity, preferring rituals that honor nature, celebrate the season, or further the spiritual development of the participants. I even tried to change the wording of the final invocation from “the peace of the Goddess” to the “peace of our love”, but it didn’t take… people are too used to the wording, so I left it. 

I have moved from the idea of a dichotomy between male and female to the idea that each of us is both and that should be celebrated. In my version of the wand and chalice ritual, the chalice and the wand are passed around the circle and each person in turn holds the chalice while the person next to them places the wand in the chalice. Each of us takes the active role and each of us takes the receiving role.

Of course, in the last 18 months, we moved from in-person rituals to remote rituals over Zoom. I made little “ritual boxes” and sent out any “props” needed for the rituals. It worked pretty well. I may decide to sell the ritual boxes for people who want to do my more complicated rituals.

What, to you, makes a ritual a success?

Ritual should be designed to make non-mundane ideas accessible. I create rituals around one or two of those ideas… which might be scientific or mystical or self-exploratory. To do this, the ritual should show, not describe, the concept. It should be experiential to the extent possible. The ritual should also be participatory, Nothing is worse than having the priest or priestess standing around yammering on and on. Everyone should have a role. I have also come to understand the importance of singing. It raises consciousness in very palpable ways. (It helps that I have 3 former members of Sweet Adelines in my group and my husband is a musician.)

I’d love to hear more about your current circle, if you’re comfortable with that.

It’s a small group, about 8, all women, except for my husband. There are a couple of lesbians and a couple of straight women. A couple of them are more dedicated to the Goddess than I am, but it’s not a problem. It didn’t occur to me that I was creating a new form of Wicca until someone mentioned it and I realized that I had moved from a Goddess center practice to a more scientific/natural practice. She pointed it out because it was special to her.

How long has your circle been practicing together now?

Wow, it looks like it’s been since 2003! My mother used to come to the rituals (she’s passed now) and we lost a wonderful woman to cancer a few years ago. Her partner still participates.

Would you say your circle has roughly the same beliefs, or do beliefs within the group vary?

They’re pretty similar, although some are more Goddess-oriented and some are more atheistic. The political views are about the same.

I’d also love to hear more about your experiences with witchcraft in the US in the 80s and 90s, if you have anything to add.

Besides the “living room” circles I have been involved with, I have had some experience with CUUPS and found them delightfully eclectic and inclusive. Their rituals unfortunately often coincided with mine. A couple of them worked for a now-defunct center at Princeton studying non-conventional physics.

Categories
Artifacts Divination

Moth Spirit Board and Planchette, Victoria, Australia

Collected August 2020

YiskaDesigns on Etsy:

This ouija style spirit board features a gorgeous month design, engraved into plywood with two matching planchette options to choose from.

•ABOUT PLYWOOD•
All of our wooden products are made with locally crafted, speciality laser ply from gorgeous Australian woods. The plywood is 3mm thick and is created from multiple fine sheets of wood to create a sturdy yet lightweight material. Plywood is highly durable and can be easily cleaned. In the event that the wood bends or warps in extreme heat or damp, it can be flattened out with a light spray of water (if too dry) and laid flat under a small weight in a cool, dry place. Due to the natural qualities of real wood, each piece we make will be unique in colour and grain.

Categories
Artifacts Divination

“QUIJA” Spinner Game, Oregon, USA

Collected August 2020

Avicornia on Ebay:

QUIJA SPINNER
Fortune Telling Game…Divination Tool
Entertainment

Auction Includes: 1 SPINNER GAME
(with plastic arrow & instructions printed on the back; as pictured: no extras, box, or packaging)
Game was printed on 8.5 x 11″ 100lb./270gsm card stock (not board) and fully laminated.


What are the initials of my true love?
Is the person I’m attracted to interested in me now?
How many children will I have?
Will I get a promotion?
When will my business turn a profit?

Ask these questions and more…Use your imagination and intuition…Relax and have fun!

Categories
Artifacts

Purple and green paracord handfasting cord, Michigan, USA

Collected June 2021

BrokenVial on Etsy

“My husband and I have taken to braiding these lovely handfasting ribbons and cords. This one is made of purple and green nylon paracord.”

Categories
Artifacts Divination

Dice Divination Kit with Pouch and Instructions, Astragalomancy, Die Casting

Collected June 2021

TheMysticWood on Etsy

“Casting dice for divination is one of the oldest recorded methods of divination, archeological record shows dice being used in and near sacred sites in numerous places all over the world, these dice were usually made from the knuckle bones of sheep, marked clay, and marked pebbles. In ancient Greece this method of divination was connected with the god Hermes, as the god of divine messages, luck, certain forms of divination, and gambling (among many other things).

What’s great about this method of divination is that it doesn’t require any special knowledge or memorization, the simple method for using dice for divination is just that, simple! In the kit that I have created here, you will get three dice, an instruction zine / pamphlet created by me, that contains directions and meanings for your divinatory readings, and a small hand stamped cotton muslin pouch. The pouch included in this kit has been stamped with a raven motif.”

Categories
Artifacts Poppets

Poppet Witch Talisman, Michigan, USA

Collected June 2021

TheBrokenVial on Etsy

“Up for you consideration is this cute little poppet. He’s made of soft cotton print fabric, poly-fil, hemp, and button eyes. He measures 8 inches long.

In the realms of traditional witchcraft, the poppet is supposed to depict a “good” witch who inspires productivity and safety, but also protects against any ill-will directed to the home. It is considered good luck to give a poppet to a friend or family member.

Poppets can be used in spells for protection, luck, prosperity, health, and happiness into the person they represent.”