Basic Practices and Beliefs in Wicca

Wicca is a nature and magic based religion that is taken from the Pagan practices of ancient times. Wicca mimics other world religions with its own rituals, seasonal “holidays” and belief system. The beliefs of the religion can vary by region, since there is no orthodox method of practice or central organization. There are, however, published teachings and works that most Wiccans adhere to.

The majority of Wiccans worship a God and Goddess who are considered to be equal, complimentary beings, and often are represented by the sun and moon. There is a trinity concept in this religion, with the Triple Goddess having aspects of the “Mother”, “Crone” and “Maiden”. Many members of Wicca concede that the Goddess had to predate her companion since she is the giver of life.

It is believed that both the God and Goddess are able to take form in the body of the Wiccan coven’s Priests or Priestesses during ritual. Though they believe in deities, the concept of an afterlife doesn’t hold strong in the Wicca community. Reincarnation is a favored belief and traditional teaching.

Possibly the most adhered to text in Wicca is the Wiccan Rede, which states “and it harm none, do what ye will”. This is interpreted as meaning that as long as a person’s actions do no harm to anyone else; they can consider themselves free to pursue them. There is also the concept of the Law of Threes (also known as the Law of Threefold Return) that says whatever positive or negative actions a person puts out into the world will return threefold.

The magic rituals of Wicca are performed within a coven or group of practitioners. The rituals are usually begun by casting a circle by invoking “guardians” of the elements and associated cardinal points: North (earth), West (water), South (fire) and East (air). The four elements are thought to represent every action and being on earth. The five points of the pentagram worn by those practicing Wicca stand for the elements and the presiding spirit.

After the circle is cast, prayers are made to the God and Goddess and spells may be cast. If it is at the time of a seasonal holiday, a special ritual may be performed. Tools a coven may have on hand for the ceremony include a book of spells (Book of Shadows), an altar cloth, cauldron, chalice, wand, broom, candles, crystals, athame (ritual knife) and incense. When the ceremony is finished, the God and Goddess are thanked for their participation and blessings and the coven closes the circle.

The Book of Shadows mentioned above is sort of a personalized religious text for either a single practitioner or- more commonly- a coven. The contents are kept secret but often contain such public domain works as the Wiccan Rede. What type of book is actually used varies between Wicca practitioners.

There are many “holidays” or seasonal observances in Wicca. Full moons (and sometimes new moons) bring about the ritual Esbat. There are also eight Sabbats- four of which, the cross-quarter days, are larger than the others and relate back to ancient fire festivals. These are named Samhain, Beltane, Lammas and Imbolc. The other, lesser celebrated festivals are the Summer and Winter solstices and Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

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Director Ryan Murphy talks about ‘Eat Pray Love’

Director Ryan Murphy talks about ‘Eat Pray Love’
For “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy — a man who likes change — discovering the best-selling memoir “Eat Pray Love” proved a real boon. The 44-year-old filmmaker read the book upon its 2006 release and felt an immediate connection. He’d even go as far as saying that the book altered his life.

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Want To Improve Your Life? Try Ashtanga Yoga

One of the philosophies of Yoga is called Patanjali and comes from the Sanskrit for its definition of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashta means 8 and Anga means limbs and these 8 limbs are intended to help the Ashtange Yoga devotee to live a healthy life. The practice of this form of Yoga is intended to help us minimize stress in our lives, which if course is a good thing, or at least minimize its effect. It also strengthens our endurance.

Ashtanga Yoga was made popular by the Yoga guru Shri K Pattabhi Jois.
There is a different term in western Yoga to describe what is in effect a form of Ashtanga Yoga. This term is Power Yoga. Power Yoga is modeled on Ashtanga yoga.

The 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are as follows:

Asana is the discipline of performing Yoga exercises for the betterment of your body and spirit.

Niyama is for taking control of your life. Control comes from personal restraint. Niyama is the combination of joy (santosh), patience (tapa), self study (swadhyaya), purity (shoucha) and love of god (esgwar pranidhan).

Yama is to enable us to dwell on the good and honorable of human behavior. This is comprised of non violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), celibacy (brahmacharay), and the ability to stay clear of envy, jealousy and other possessive and destructive behaviours (aparigraha). Stealing is also resisted (asteya).

As with many other branches of Yoga the breathing is controlled and this is Pranayma.

Dharna is to help us concentrate on personal learning to improve our understanding of our place in the overall scheme of life, and to form long term goals or a firm mission for our life.

Pratyahara is to help us isolate ourselves from the hustle and bustle and background noise of the world to allow our minds to focus within and become a haven for positivity.

Dhyana is to help us concentrate on our mission and long terms goals from the pursuit of meditation

Samadhi is the attainment of a state of bliss and peace, the ability to find and focus on our life mission and to continually strive to reach the final goal of personal enlightenment.

As can be seen Ashtanga Yoga has some lofty ends. It is practiced in a series of stages where the student of progresses at their own pace to achieve their goal.

This starts with the Yoga Chikitsa which is a form of Yoga therapy which is intended to detox the body and to build strength and stamina. It takes around 2 hours to complete the 75 poses involved. The start of the exercises is the surya namaskar (the sun salutation) and then the student moves on to a series of standing exercises and sitting exercise followed by inversions and relaxation exercises.

The second set in the series of 6 is called the nadi shodana and it helps with strengthening the nervous system. These exercises follow the same sequence as the first set of exercises but with the inclusion of some extra exercises.

The final set of 4 from the series is called sthira bhaga meaning divine permanence. This the final and advanced form of the practice and is only for students who have finally mastered the intitial exercises.

The pursuit of Yoga, including Ashtanga Yoga, is a lifetime passion. It isnt easy and requires discipline, but the discipline is worth it.

To find out more about Yoga visit Peters Website The Good Yoga Guide at and find out about Yoga Health Benefits and more including Yoga resources