Earth Dance
By Hazel Dunlin

Windflowers by John W. Waterhouse ca. 1903

Brightest Blessings!

      Welcome to my circle.  I'm Hazel Dunlin.
Travel with me along a path in ancient places and experience Nature.

      In this place, the Ocean waves unroll their edges to touch the Sun-warmed sand.  Sea birds skim on the top of the water and dart along the shore just out of reach of the ebbing and flowing of the tide. Beyond the breakers, in the sea-green world, a school of Bluefish forms a shadowy cloud that shifts along and drifts out to sea.    

    Off to the North, far away from the crystalline sandy dunes and the sway of the plumed reeds, lays an enchanted forest.  There, beneath the cover of the tall dark pines, a fresh water spring runs clear over the moss covered rocks.  Under your feet, the Earth has the scent as if after a Summer rain.  The call of a Great Horned Owl can be heard in the evening air, as a gentle wind drifts by tickling the trees.  Can you hear them laughing?  

     We follow a winding path deeper into the green and come upon a little cabin.  It's surrounded by a watercolor rainbow of flowers in bloom.  I invite you in, and as you step up on the porch, you turn to let the Sun warm your face for the last few moments of the day as He sinks behind the trees.  His mate will rise tonight in the East, full and round, to take Her place above to brighten the night sky. 

     This place exists.  It is real.
It's not only a way of life, it's my religion.
The religion of Nature...
Witchcraft.

     Witchcraft is a religion.  It's a Pagan (Earth-based) religion.  It varies slightly in practice as it does in name, which includes Shamanism, Wicca, Druidism, and many more.  What they all have in common is a reverence and respect for Nature, love & life.  All Pagan religions celebrate the turning of the Earth round & round and Nature spinning through her cycles - what I refer to as Earth Dance.

"A Pagan is a Naturalist who takes Nature 
to a spiritual level." 
C. Harper

      Paganism is tens-of-thousands of years old.  The word pagan is an ancient Roman word meaning 'country dweller' or someone who lives in harmony with the natural world.  The term pagan has come to represent any religion that is not Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Pagans do NOT worship idols, false gods or 'the devil'/ 'Satan' as Hollywood and the church would lead many to believe.  'The devil' or 'Satan' is the corruption and degradation of polytheistic deities by, and the sole creation of , Christianity to discredit and warp the religious practices of all our ancient ancestors in an often forceful conversion effort from the Old Ways to their new monotheistic God and required 'one true way' of belief.

     Freedom of religion gives everyone the right to choose his or her own religious beliefs.

The Constitution of the United States
First Amendment

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

     Pagans believe that everyone is allowed to choose their own religious beliefs.  We respect another's choices and do not attempt to convert others to our ways of belief.  All we ask is for the same respect in return.  Respect our choice and please don't label us.  To label a Pagan or a Witch as a 'devil worshipper' or 'ungodly' is quite an uneducated statement.  We do not believe in a devil or Satan.  Witches and Pagans all believe in God.  God, to us, is not only male but a female as well.  Neither one set above the other, they are equals.  The God/dess is one.  We believe that the God and Goddess are our Spiritual parents and that they are omnipresent - always around us and within ALL things - the soil we stand on, the rocks, the plants, the trees, all the creatures that walk, scurry, and fly about this Earth including ourselves.  They are the Sun, the Moon, the stars, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the fire that keeps us warm.

     I am proud of my beliefs.  I don't go around town screaming ''I'm a Witch!'' or ''I'm a Pagan!'', but I don't hide them either.  I wear the symbol of my religion (pentacle) just as anyone else wears a cross or the star of David, etc.  If you were to ask me about my beliefs, I would describe them and that's all.  I wouldn't preach to you or try to convert you to the Old Religion.  So, if you meet me or a fellow Pagan, don't be afraid to talk to us.  If you're curious about our ways, just ask!  We would rather educate and open a mind to the false labels that have been given than to go on being misunderstood.  Generally speaking, we're understanding and genuine people who are connected to Nature and care about all living creatures.  

     As for false labeling, here's one of the best culprits (and all in the name of the mighty dollar);  Witchcraft is NOT what you see in the movies!  Let's face it, if movies were made about what Witches really do all day (i.e. going to work, making dinner, doing laundry, feeding the dog, reading and learning, helping others, admiring a sunrise, smelling flowers, etc.).  How many people do you think would go see that movie?  Not many, that's no way to make money.  That's why the true Craft is not portrayed in movies.  Turn anything into a spooky, scary, mysterious, power-hungry, life-threatening plot and you've got yourself a great money-making story.  Take, for example, a simple camping trip or a couple of girls in high school and add the above adjectives.  Hmm, sounds familiar.  Doesn't it?!

     ''OK, so what about the magick part?''  Yes, witches do work with magick, but not the magic you see in movies.  What you see in movies is stage magic and nothing more.  People/ frog transformations are not real.  Bubbling cauldrons with green goo to cook children in for supper are not real.  Animal sacrifices do not happen in real Witchcraft.  Changing hair or eye color using a 'glamour spell' is not real.  And, Witches worshipping Satan or the devil is definitely not real!  Magick to a real Witch is working with Nature and using his or her will power (with only good intentions) to accomplish a task often through ritual and/ or spell work.  How well that will power can be focused, will determine the task's outcome.  
That's Magick!

  More on Magick

     Real Witches take responsibility for their actions and know the side-effects of using magick in a negative manner.  A real Witch ever use her/ his magick to intimidate someone or to make them do something they wouldn't normally do on their own (including falling in love).  Anyone who would do these things has no business calling themselves a Witch.  Dark flowing clothes, elaborate jewelry, and dark makeup does not make someone a Witch.  This is stereotyping and nothing more.  Just because this is how Witches are portrayed in movies and recent history, does not mean it's correct and it doesn't mean that if you dress like this and play with spells it makes you a Witch.  About the only thing this will accomplish is making a fool of yourself and making the general public afraid of or look down upon real Witches.  So before anyone starts playing with something they don't understand, they should really take into consideration the consequences of their actions.  To not do so goes against the wholeness of what the Craft is.  Learn more if you want to make the Craft part of your life.  How do you start?  By reading all you can get your hands on, whether it be from Pagan books, magazines, newspapers or other web sites.

     Having a book or two of spells or having parents who are Witches, does not make someone a Witch either.  It's not the same as saying, ''Well my dad's Italian, so I'm Italian.''  If your dad is a Witch that does not make you a Witch unless you yourself actually practice the Craft of the Wise.  (Yes, men are also called Witches.  Warlock is a Scottish word meaning oath-breaker.  To call someone a Warlock in pagan circles is an insult.)  The same applies in saying, ''My parents are Christian, so I'm Christian.''  Only if you believe in and practice the tenets of a religion, are you of that religion.  Being a Witch or Christian is something that's inside.  It's not a physical aspect, but a spiritual one.  So that means how you dress, what books you buy, and what your parents' spiritual beliefs are, has little to do with what you feel inside as your true beliefs.  If you don't believe in the ways of Paganism, then you can't be a Witch.  If you don't believe in Christianity, then you're not a Christian.  Don't believe in Buddhism, then your not a Buddhist.  Believing in one does not mean the others are wrong.   What's the correct spiritual path to follow?  That's something everyone must decide for themselves and no one else.  So what is a Witch?  A Witch is someone who works with the Natural world to bring about changes that are necessary to keep life in balance, all the while harming none.  A Witch reveres Nature and respects ALL life.  

If you would like to learn more about Witchcraft,
I invite you to find a comfy spot, sit back, relax,
and open my

Book of Shadows.
or

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2000 - 2011  Hazel Dunlin/ Avalon Moon, Inc.  All rights reserved. Text contained herein is protected by US Copyright Laws, and may not be reproduced (as a whole or in part) in any way without written permission.

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