I can’t tell you. It’s oath bound.
I have always hated that! As a baby witch I had so many questions. How do you cast a circle? Should I ‘do’ an altar? How do I really know when my item has been blessed or cleansed? How do I bless or cleanse something, anyway?
I understand the need to keep some things private. I am totally open to sharing anything and everything but I never share absolutely everything. Why? Well … it’s simple really.
I will tell anyone absolutely anything about how I practice. I will help them find things they need to cast a spell or a circle but I never tell them the exact words I say. Why? Well … I tend to think that simply reciting words written by someone else and sending the energy out into the universe is kind of like going to see a cover band.
Let’s say you call up your witchy friend and say “I’m trying to whip up a spell to bring more positive energy into my life but I am getting stuck.” Your friend says ‘Hey no problem! I have a spell I do and it goes like this ….”
You write it all down, go home, and do everything your friend said. You are basically being a ‘cover band’ and just reciting whatever your friend wrote. While I don’t see a problem with this amongst friends or coven-mates who practice together – I personally – don’t see where any power lies in that.
When witches ask me questions like “How do you cast a circle?” I usually say:
Well I don’t get all Merlin the Wizard when I cast a circle. (which is true) I use very basic non-ceremonial words and actions when casting a circle. BUT – for ‘high’ holidays (Ostara, Litha, Beltane, Samhain, Yule) I am ceremonial. For ‘lesser’ holidays (Imbolc, Lughnasadh, Mabon) I am not ceremonial. My observation of the ‘lesser’ holidays are much simpler.
And just to clarify no one told me there are high/greater or lesser holidays. This is simply how I see things. The holidays I call ‘high’ holidays are the ones that resonate and speak to me. The lesser holidays I don’t feel a connection to. At least right now.
I don’t think basic information should be oath bound. Well unless it is some kind of cop-out and you really don’t have an answer. In that case I would just prefer to be told “I dunno!” instead of hearing “Oh it is oath bound. I can’t tell you.”
I never tell anyone chants said to my goddess. I never tell anyone the words I write for spells UNLESS
- I have written the spell for the purpose of being passed on.
- I work closely with that person.
- I trust the person asking.
These are just my guidelines. I feel that it gives my words more power and energy – and by someone repeating them word-for-word that their intent and words will have LESS power. I don’t do it for myself – I keep this secret for their benefit. This way their words have more power.
Not telling someone herb properties because it is oath bound is (in my opinion) stupid.
Not telling someone the basics or the ‘why’ of circle casting is (in my opinion) stupid.
Telling someone that absolutely everything surrounding your practice is oath bound is … again .. stupid.
There is so much to gain from passing on your knowledge! Not only for yourself, but for the baby witch asking! I think anyone with the interest enough to ask should be given the information with at least a ‘seeker beware’ warning. But – as humans – we have the ability to gauge what a person can, can’t or should NOT handle. You can ‘dumb things down’ to those who just wouldn’t be able to handle what you’re saying.
Even with people I practice with I find myself saying “This might make me sound insane but …” No. I don’t sound insane to THEM. To others – yes I probably would. BUT – if you ask – you’re going to get an answer.
I am very leery of people who say everything they do is oath bound. It makes me think they are just full of shit.
How much should remain secret? Aren’t we past that time in society where we have to keep ourselves secret? I understand in some cultures yes – secrecy is important. But in most Western societies?
Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Am I completely off-base?