Own The Book:

Ritual and Symbolism in Wicca

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Beyond the Book of Shadows covers the spiritual side of Wicca and Wiccan practice. You are taken through:
  • The inner functions of magic and ritual,
  • The deep importance of symbolism,
  • The esoteric symbolism behind the wiccan athame,
  • Why wiccan tools are not necessary to practice wiccan ritual.

The following is an extract from the book:

Ritual and Magic

Ritual can be and do many things. On one level, whereas mysticism carries one person to the Divine, ritual carries many. A ritual can mirror a divine process on earth and so help in its manifestation. A ritual can be a way of gathering together and focusing psychic energy (however you may define it), towards a specific end; be this the invoking of a God, the evocation of a spirit, the consecration of an item or the gaining of knowledge or experience of a specific type of spiritual energy. A ritual can be a way to symbolically and importantly mark a special event, such as an initiation and a ritual can also be purely devotional; dedicated to giving energy or thanks to a particular deity purely out of love.

Arising out of ritual, whatever its form, is Magic, which in its truest and most profound sense, is the action of our divine self in participation with the rest of the universe and ultimate Divinity. Magic, as I experience it, gives the sensation of Awe. It is that spine tingling feeling of wonder. Magic becomes the most joyous type of communication with the whole of reality. It is, in essence, the language of ecstasy. Even if only because that is the state a ritual can lift one too and in which it is carried out. We may not get there all of the time but it is always there I believe, none-the-less, just waiting for us to grasp it. We could also say that magic is the effect of our participation
with our divine nature. Magic helps us to realise this more and more.

At the basis of all of this is the simple but powerful reason why people the world over perform ritual. No matter how deeply and unconsciously buried it might be, people have a sense of the Divine and at some level, in some way, wish to connect with it. So ritual is how we give structure to the phenomenon we call magic.

Ritual can be as simple as a cross of the fingers or the lighting of a candle or as involved and complex as a full Golden Dawn ceremony. The opposite to ritual; the Divine contacting the human, is Grace, which uses no ritual but just ‘happens’, naturally, ‘as if by magic’.

Ritual and Symbols

All magic and ritual works by use of symbols. Generally speaking we tend not to wield the fundamental forces of nature directly with our bare brains (not outside of fantasy novels anyway). Instead, we deal with all of reality both magical and mundane (if we must differentiate), via the use of symbols. Everything we do in magic we do by the use of symbols. Everything we do in everyday life, we do through and because of, symbols. Understanding the nature of symbols is the key to almost everything in magic (and much else).

Symbols are the words of our Divine language. Symbols are how we communicate with Divinity and with other beings and also with each other, across dimensions of existence which rule out any other way of communicating. Symbols and the energy behind them, form the truest universal language. It is sometimes difficult for us, in these most literal of times, to appreciate just how true this is.

Part of the path of the initiate, of spiritual awakening, is to use symbols consciously to increase our awareness of their influence on the world around us and on ourselves. Ultimately, symbols might be left behind entirely in those glimpses where we seem to contact Divinity and true Reality directly, beyond all dualism and illusion. This is a long process but it begins with becoming conscious here and now of how we use symbolism, of how we are defined by it in many ways and of learning how to consciously use symbols and their energy. In this way we learn begin to see the mythology by which we lead our lives and with which our religions shape and colour spiritual truths.

In magic, symbolism is the language of the Divine, the language of nature based on love and unity. Symbols are its words. Ritual is its speech and magic is its sound. And its sound is ecstasy.
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