It has been some time since I touched on this subject and, in the last Getting Help post, I did promise that these articles would be ongoing so I thought it high time to come back to the subject.
As I mentioned in the previous Getting Help post, people who are faced with a hostile haunting or other types of incursions from the Otherside are often seized with a sort of paralysis in which they do nothing to help themselves because they do not think others will believe them and they have no idea where to turn for help. When the witnesses do break their lethargy and seek assistance, they often call upon the groups or individuals who put themselves out there to investigate such claims. This can be a problem, in and of itself, since these groups and individuals (whom I will refer to as “investigator” for simplicity) vary wildly in their abilities and professionalism.
If the witnesses happen to be lucky enough to find a good investigator, that person is faced with a daunting task should they discover that the incursion is not the product of natural occurrences or the mental problems of the witness or witnesses. Most investigators are just that, investigators, and they do not come equipped with the bag of tricks needed to rid a home or other location of an incursion from the Otherside.
The good investigator will recognize that he or she needs assistance and this is where things tend to get muddy. Since most investigators have no magical background at all, they do not know where to start looking for help. Many will default to the religion of their youth and seek the services of an exorcist from that church. While some denominations have practitioners who specialize in this sort of thing (another post at another time), many investigators come from agnostic backgrounds and really have no idea what to do next.
Being an investigator though, the person will likely begin to explore options and, if their search leads them into the realm of magic and magical folk who know how to do things like banish, the person they are most likely to encounter, since they are the most “out” of the magic users, is a Wiccan.
Wiccans also often refer to themselves as witches and I am not even going to get into the controversy surrounding the use of the two terms – that would require a whole other post and is not related to the topic of this blog. For our purposes, a Wiccan is a person who follows the nature based, Goddess oriented religion founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s. Wicca finds its roots in what appears to be a fragmentary folk magic tradition passed down to Gardner from his mentor, Dorothy Clutterbuck, as well as elements from Aleister Crowley’s OTO, Masonry and other esoteric traditions of the time. While it is something of a mish mash, Gardner and his priestess Doreen Valiente managed to produce a set of rituals and initiations that have worked for thousands of people over the time since Wicca was founded. Magic and its use is one of the core elements of Wiccan practice.
A fully trained Wiccan should be able to carry out the diagnostics necessary for discerning what type of being is causing an incursion and should be able to suggest some remedies to an issue or, at least, suggest next steps if he or she does not feel qualified to handle the situation. If things are really out of hand, most Wiccans worship and do magic in groups called covens and they can can, with permission from the leadership of the group, call on the coven for assistance in working any magic that may be required to remedy the situation. A Wiccan should also be able to do something similar to what a medicine person does and negotiate a “treaty” with a spirit or they should have someone in the coven with the necessary sensitivity to do this.
Note the bolded use of the word should. Wicca became enormously popular in the 80’s and 90’s and a surfeit of books telling people that they could become initiates of Wicca simply by reading and following the instructions produced a huge crop of “Wiccans” who had very little claim to the title and a whole lot of attitude and posing. Some of these people did go on to seek real initiation in the Craft (as Wiccans sometimes call their religion) but many of them simply did their own thing and the result is a giant pool of people calling themselves Wiccan, many of whom could not magic their way out of a wet paper sack but who will be quite happy to tell you how powerful they are, should you ask.
Example: I knew one young lady in the Phoenix, AZ, area who, after reading a couple of books by one of “those” authors decided that she was now a High Priestess and ready to lead her own coven. The results, as you might imagine, were disastrous and culminated in the lady and her group being arrested in a public park after hours. She and her group were found standing in a circle, holding lit candles in the midst of tinder dry brush in a sensitive mountain nature preserve area.
So, could a Wiccan assist you in the investigation and resolution of a hostile haunting or other event? Absolutely, but you have to find one who actually knows what he or she is doing. In my experience with well trained Wiccans, they are almost as hard to find as medicine people and, should you find a candidate, checking their credentials can be frustrating since they are often oathsworn not to reveal anything about their coven or lineage. While the individual may be more than willing to help, once you find him or her, they are likely not going to be willing to confide anything more than generalities to you until they get to know you.
Tests which indicate that you might have found a trained Wiccan:
a) Look for a person with deep knowledge of and interest in occult fields ranging from magic to divination and herbal lore – check any statements your candidate makes with outside sources and bring up any discrepancies you find with the person. They should not make grandiose claims to hidden knowledge but should be able to explain their point of view.
b) Ask the person to do a generic banishing in an area – nothing which they are oathsworn not to reveal. If you are at all sensitive, you should feel a definite change in the atmosphere of the area. The Wiccan should be able to do this without a script of any kind and with minimal preparation.
c) Ask the person about aspects of the religion (seasonal festivals, for example). All the Wiccans I know operate on the Eight-Fold Cycle of the Year invented by Gardner and the druid Ross Nichols. The Wiccan should be able to tell you about any festival, what it means, general ideas about how it is celebrated, etc.
d) Look for a person who does not flaunt their religion but who seems to hold tier faith deeply. Ask them about the Goddess and the God and get them to explain a little about their thinking on the gods. Each Wiccan is allowed to think what they like about the gods but the person’s explanation should reflect some thought and meditation.
e) Ask the person what they do as a daily practice. Most Wiccans will practice some form of meditation daily and will often accompany that with a self blessing, banishing or other magical work. Again, remember the oaths that are sworn by these folks and realize they may have to speak in generalities.
f) Well trained Wiccans most often come from a variety of off-shoots of the original Gardnerian stream. Ask if the person can tell you something about the “trad” that they come from and how it fits into that stream. Research, research, research.
This post has turned into a mini-book so I will stop now. Suffice to say, that, as with medicine people, finding a well trained Wiccan can be a time consuming and frustrating task. There are a lot of posers out there. Keep your eyes and ears open and trust your instincts when choosing someone to work with on an investigation.