How to Become a Witch
black hounds
    Hecate is an ancient goddess, old before the Olympian pantheon came to Greece. Her origins may lie in Turkey, Thrace, or even Egypt.
She came to be known as Queen of the Witches—the goddess of wisdom, magick, night, and the crossroads.
    Black hounds were sacred to her, and folklore has tales of giant black dogs with glowing eyes appearing to travelers on dark, lonely roads. Sometimes these hounds were fierce and threatening, but just as often, they seemed friendly and might even guide the lost to safety.
    The meaning of the pentagram
    The pentagram is a five-pointed star drawn with a single line, sometimes within and touching a circle (see page 61). It has been used for millennia as a symbol of protection, balance, and the Goddess. The points represent earth, air, fire, and water, under the guidance of spirit.
    Its possible origin: if you carefully watch the apparent motion of the planet Venus in the sky, it produces a pentagram over eight years’ time. Venus is named for the goddess of love and life.
    Today the pentagram, usually crafted in silver, is revered and worn by many Pagan folk, especially Witches.
    The Universe According to Wicca Common Beliefs
    Witches live in a complex, beautiful, and multilayered universe—a very big universe. Not only is it billions of years old, with a hundred billion galaxies or more, but it has levels of reality superimposed and co-existing—different worlds, planes, or parallel universes. These other worlds have names such as the astral plane or the shamanic Underworld. Each has its own rules and its own inhabitants: elementals; discarnate humans; faery folk; guides, allies, and guardians; animal spirits; plant devas; and others who are even less familiar. Many Witches visit these places and meet the entities who dwell there. (We will explore this more in chapter 10.)
    If this seems like pure imagination or fantasy to you because you haven’t seen it, then we would ask: when was the last time you saw a quark, or gamma radiation, or, for that matter, love or justice? Just because you cannot sense something with your standard senses doesn’t mean it’s not real.
    We also model the universe as formed of five basic elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Everything we know can be categorized as one of the first four, and spirit pervades them all. (We will explore this more in chapter 3.)
    Everything is energy in different forms or flavors, and everything is connected to everything else. Magick works by manipulating this energy to change things.
    As we’ve seen, Wiccans tend to see the universe as entirely sacred—even the bad parts are there for us to learn from, so that we can avoid repeated pitfalls in our own spiritual growth.
    Where did it all come from? Witches don’t care very much about creation myths; we care more about how the world works now. So in that respect, we have no quarrel with the scientific view that the universe is billions of years old and humans only developed into our modern form a few thousand years ago. The innumerable creation myths found around the world are all equally inventive attempts to understand something fundamentally beyond our comprehension. Central to all these stories is the basic truth of magick: that an idea, with will behind it and focused energy to make it happen, can create anything. That’s how the universe was created, and that’s how Witches do magick today.
    Witchcraft, or Wicca, has no single sacred text, no Bible or Koran, but there is one text that most Witches cherish, called the “Charge of the Goddess.” The Charge has become the closest thing to “gospel” that Witches have. A version first appeared in Charles Leland’s book The Gospel of Aradia , which explored the history of Strega, or Italian Witchcraft. Gardnerian priestess Doreen Valiente expanded it, and Starhawk has published a modernized version. We have blended all three and added a few touches of our own, resulting in this version:

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