The warlock is back.
That warlock would be me. Since I’ve ended my association with the Tip of the Weed (er, I mean Vine) Coven run by the Obi-Wannabe (with apologies to George Lucas, the creator of the real Obi-Wan Kenobi), Ruth N., aka Aviana Snowwolfe, I suppose that technically I could be considered a warlock. The dictionary definition of a warlock is listed below this paragraph.
war·lock (wôr“l¼k”) n. A male witch, sorcerer, wizard, or demon. [Middle English warloghe, from Old English wÆrloga, oath-breaker: wÆr, pledge; see w¶ro- below + -loga, liar (from l¶ogan, to lie; see leugh- below).]
leugh-. Important derivatives are: warlock, belie, lie2.
leugh-. To tell a lie.I. 1.a. WARLOCK, from Old English l¶ogan, to lie; b. BELIE, from Old English bel¶ogan, to deceive (be-, about; see ambhi). Both a and b from Germanic *leugan. 2. LIE2, from Old English lyge, a lie, falsehood, from Germanic *lugiz. [Pokorny leugh- 686.]
w¶ro-. Important derivatives are: warlock, verity, very, verdict, verify, severe, persevere.
w¶ro-. True. 1. WARLOCK, from Old English wÆr, faith, pledge, from Germanic *w¶ra-. 2. VERACIOUS, VERISM, VERITY, VERY; AVER, VERDICT, VERIDICAL, VERIFY, VERISIMILAR, VOIR DIRE, from Latin v¶rus, true. 3. SEVERE; ASSEVERATE, PERSEVERE, from Latin sev¶rus, grave, serious; regarded by some as a compound of se-, sed, without (see s(w)e-), and v¶rus, true, but the semantic difficulties make this explanation improbable. 4. Normal grade *wero-, from *wer…-o-. GALORE, from Old Irish roar, enough, from *ro-wero-, sufficiency (*ro-, intensive prefix, from *pro-; see per1). [Pokorny 11. øer- 1165.]
So how did I come to such an ignoble end? All things end, even student-teacher relationships. Especially once the student has become the master and the teacher the student. True, any teacher may learn from their students and it would be surprising if this wasn’t the case, but overall the teacher should know more than the student. That was not the case with Aviana ‘Snow-puppy’.
I had been just shy of my year and a day studying with a Gardnerian coven in south Florida when work necessitated a move to Georgia (See my post, “From ‘F’ to ‘G’.) In addition I had also spent the last year studying under Cara, founder of the EarthGuard tradition and witch queen of more than 30 hived Gardnerian covens. I also studied under a ceremonial magician and did my own studying. Following is my reading list to date:
- Wicca Beliefs and Practices, Gary Cantrell
- Wicca the Complete Craft, DJ Conway
- Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, Raymond Buckland
- Wicca for One, Raymond Buckland
- Solitary Wicca for Life, Murphy Hiscock
- A Witch Alone, Marian Green (very good for solitaires—first book the Gardnerians had me read)
- Instant Magick, Christopher Penzak
- Practical Magic for Beginners, Brandy Williams (very good, excellent exercises—this is where I learned my peculiar way of raising energy)
- Druid Power, Amber Wolfe
- The Woman’s Book of Healing Herbs, Sara Harrar & Sara O’Donnell
- A Witch’s Bible, Janet & Stewart Farrar (My favorite reference)
- Handfasting and Wedding Rituals, Raven Kaldera & Tannin Schwartzstein
- Chakra Yoga, Alan Finger (We need to concentrate more on the basics. Yoga is an excellent way to improve meditation skills)
- Eco Shamanism, James Endready
- The Lore of the Bard, Arthur Rowan
- Magick, Shamanism, and Taoism, Richard Herne
- The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation Solitary Witch, Silver Ravenwolf
- The Meaning of Witchcraft, Gerald Gardner
- Witchcraft Today, Gerald Gardner
- Mystical Secrets for Wealth, Health, and Happiness, Joan Marie
- The Way of the Green Witch, Arin Murphy-Hiscock
- Power Spellcraft for Life, Arin Murphy-Hiscock
- Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communication, Raymond Buckland
- The Circle Within, Dianne Sylvan
- Empowering Your Life with Wicca, Sirona Knight
- Energy-focused Meditation, Genevieve Lewis Paulson (It’s okay but could be better)
- Enchanted Titania’s Book of White Magic (Uh, what can I say since I don’t believe in white/gray/black magick; there is only magick. But it’s a nice book anyway
- Total Meditation, Susannah Marriott (two thumbs up)
- The Good Spell Book, Gillian Kemp (an interesting study of gypsy magick)
- Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, Aaron Leitche
- Magick of the Gods and Goddesses, DJ Conway
- Three Books of Occult Pholosophy, Henry Cornelius Agrippa (yeah!)
- Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham
- Drawing Down the Moon, Margot Adler (excellent anthropomorphical study of Pagans in America)
- How To Uncover Your Past Lives, Ted Andrews (Did you know that I’ve lived about 600 lifetimes but only 54 of them on Earth—explains a lot doesn’t it)
- How to Meet and Work with Spirit Guides, Ted Andrews
- Tarot Decoder, Kathleen McCormmack (It’s okay but I like the book that came with the Gilded Tarot better)
- The Apocrypha, Gilly Sergiev
- The Secrets of High Magic, Francis Melville (An excellent reference on summoning—a good companion to #30, and #32 listed)
- Magical Use of Thought Forms, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki & JH Brennan (not as good as I thought it’d be but still worthwhile)
- To Stir a Magick Cauldron, Silver Ravenwolf (a good teen witch book)
- Palm Decoder, Tre McCamley
- The Gilded Tarot, Tarot reference which came with the set
Whereas Ruth’s reading list as far as I know has been confined to a few of Silver Ravenwolf’s books and a couple of “feminazi” texts, the historically speculative but unscholarly “When God was a Woman”, and “The Chalice and the Blade.” Neither of these books is taken seriously by educated Wiccans. But the common misconception among many charlatans is if you’ve read a Ravenwolf book or two, all you need to do is claim to be Wiccan high-mukety-muck of something or another and faster than you can say, “Sabrina the teenage witch,” poof, there you are an instant Wiccan High Priestess. Ruth never fails to sign all of her emails with the title Wiccan HPS. I wonder whether she realizes that by the nature of our beliefs, everyone is clergy and therefore able to conduct rituals and claim the title of HPS or HP (high priestess/high priest.)
One of the first things I did when arriving in Georgia was to look for a witches’ meet up group. I met Ruth at one such meeting. She claimed to be a Wiccan Wisteria (anybody ever hear of the Wisteria tradition) High Priestess of a local coven (The Tip of the Vine.) After our initial conversation, I asked her to teach us (me and my wife.) While my training at the time was equivalent to that of a master adept, my wife was just beginning her formal training in Wicca and I felt it might be good for her to learn from someone else besides me.
I suppose the first red flag that should have been raised was at the very first study group meeting, when she took more than an hour detailing the woes in her life including the fact that she was bipolar, had curvature of the spine, flat feet, no job, and no health insurance, her car’s transmission was going out—reverse didn’t work—so she had to find parking spaces where she could pull straight through, she had to park on the grass at the doctor’s office for that reason, her lawyer was always calling her (at the time she was putting in for disability but I’m not sure that she’s ever worked—anywhere.)
Well, I’m ‘pie-polar’ myself. Sometimes I like cherry pie and sometimes I like pumpkin pie. I don’t believe in that Oprah/The View disease and think that people who claim to be bipolar are really just looking for an excuse for their inappropriate behaviors, and the inappropriate behaviors would soon start just after me, my wife, Kris, and other student were initiated into the coven.
The first thing I noticed about the group was their lackadaisical approach to observing the sabbats and esbats. However at the time, I thought perhaps the Goddess had brought me to this group to help get them back on track. Ruth would often cite her ‘busy’ schedule as the reason that a sabbat or esbat ritual would need to be skipped. One such occurrence happened on Samhain—the holiest day of the year for witches. The reason that the coven skipped Samhain was because they needed to take their kids trick-or-treating. Okay, I said let’s have ritual either earlier or later on Samhain, or the day before, or day after (preferably the day after—November 1.) No, couldn’t do it—busy, busy, busy schedules. Well, how freaking busy can you be when you don’t work?
Later, we found out that Ruth’s idea of being busy was spending up to eight plus hours a day in Harry Potter chat rooms or playing the MMORPG Runescape. However, still she continued to use the excuse of her busy schedule to dilute the quality of the student lessons, for using canned rituals instead of writing her own, or for shirking her duties as a high priestess and teacher.
Most of her rituals seemed like something downloaded off the internet. If that was what she was doing it wouldn’t surprise me since I know from talking to her that is where she got the lessons she taught as her own material. Upon learning this I asked her if she knew what plagiarism was and she did what she always did when cornered about something. She pulled rank: “I’m the high priestess and what I say goes…”
(To be continued)