Hollystone Coven and Wicca
The witches of Hollystone Coven practice Wicca. We are healers, seekers, and protectors of the natural world. You don’t have to belong to a coven to explore Wicca. And you don’t have to be Wiccan to read about our adventures. But I thought you might like to know some of our beliefs and practices.
All nature is alive and entwined in the web of life. At one time, humans knew this because we lived in and with the natural world. We were all tribal people. Land and story were, and still are, mythically tied through the landscape of place. Civilization and technology creates a barrier between nature and humanity so we sometimes forget who we really are. One of the reasons to celebrate Sabbats in the woods, every six weeks, is to reconnect with our essential nature and remember. Many Wiccans are environmentalists, healers, and eco-warriors.
Wicca is a pagan earth-centred way of being where power is raised either by a solitary practitioner or a group for the purpose of healing or manifestation. Some people call it a religion. We prefer to call it a way of life.
The polarity of female (earth) and male (sun) is symbolized by gods and goddesses from many cultures who represent abstract qualities like love, home, intoxication, healing, creativity and so on. You will hear the witches call entities into their sacred circle to support them in their endeavours. Sensara, as high priestess, represents female energy and Estrada, as her high priest, male. Here’s an excerpt from the first ceremony in To Charm a Killer to illustrate:
“As the chalice is to the goddess,” said Sensara.
“So the blade is to the god,” he said, plunging it into the cup.
“United the god and goddess create blessings for the earth and for all,” they chanted together.
We believe in reincarnation and karma–whatever you put out will come back to you three-fold, so harm none lest you harm yourself. This is the Wiccan Law of Three. Remember that kindness works the same why–if you are happy and kind the world will reflect that back to you too.
We believe in healthy living and although we share wine in our ceremonies, we do not indulge in drugs. (Except for Estrada who is something of a dark horse and a free-spirit beyond this writer’s control.)
Magic transforms one’s reality through the focus of awareness and energy. We attract and manifest that on which we focus—good or bad. To focus as a group can transform a community, a region, a world, even a universe. Spellcasting focusses and directs the power of thought to achieve a purpose. The Hollystone witches chant and dance to focus and raise power because music is so powerful.
Specific days are celebrated throughout the natural Wheel of the Year with ceremony and feasting beginning with the Celtic New Year at Samhain (SOW-in). Many authors of books and websites suggest ritual colours and foods and chants to use on these days. If you reflect on the time of year and the natural world around you, you’ll know what to include in your ceremony. Wicca is a free, fluid and natural way of being. The story of the god and goddess is intertwined throughout. Dates are given for those of us in the northern hemisphere:
Samhain (pronounced SOW-in)–October 31. This is the time for communion with the spirit world as the veils between the worlds are said to be thinnest. Halloween means the sacred or holy eve—hallowed eve–and is a time for introspection, meditation, divination, reflection on those who have passed over, and reverence for the dark time of the year that is upon us. It is the Wiccan New Year so do celebrate on this sacred night—candles, wine, and chocolate come to mind. In the mythological story, the goddess enters the underworld to confront the god of death and rebirth.
Yule or Winter Solstice–December 20–22. This is the longest night of the year. Mythologically, the goddess gives birth to the sunlight and the days following begin to lengthen. Hurray! Celebrate with light, colour, and by bringing the natural world indoors. Drape your home in holly and evergreens.
Imbolc (pronounced IM-bulk)–February 2. At Imbolc, the sun god continues to grow in the womb of the goddess. Traditionally, this day honours the Celtic goddess Brigit, Triple Goddess of Poetry, smithcraft or metal work, and healing.
Oestara (pronounced o-star-uh) or Spring Equinox–March 20–22. Easter evolved from Oestara (the celebration of the Germanic earth goddess) and is a celebration of the birth of spring from the fertile goddess Earth. The light grows ever stronger after this, babies are born, creeks overflow with rain and snowmelt, and shoots spring from the earth.
Beltaine or May Day–May 1. This is a fertility fire festival. The god and goddess mate and love abounds. It’s a celebration of the fertile earth and the blue sunny sky, of colour and sound, of flowers and animals. In the traditional May Pole Ceremony people danced around a tall pole in opposite directions winding their ribbons round the pole and meeting in the middle. (I heard this pronounced in Gaelic Ireland as bee-Yawl-tinn-uh, which was quite beautiful and intoxicating.)
Summer Solstice–June 20-22. Solstice is the longest day of the year. It’s a celebration of light, growth, and abundance as plants flourish in the sunlight.
Loughnassadh (pronounced LOO-na-sa) or Lammas–August 1. This is the Celtic festival of Lugh (Loo). First harvest festival. Celebrate with the fresh bounty of the earth.
Mabon or Autumn Equinox–September 20-22. Thanksgiving. A harvest festival when good whole healthy food abounds. After the ritual, the Hollystone witches donate their produce to the local food bank. It is a time of equal day and equal night. After this the darkness grows until Samhain. And so it goes…ever spiraling….
We’d love to hear how you celebrate the Wheel of the Year. Please send us an email and share.