Frequently Asked Questions

Potted Gremlin

Here is your opportunity to "Ask Aoumiel" questions. I will be happy to answer as best I can or refer you to other sources. Questions are important to learning, and most questions help in that process, so I will begin with an example of one of the questions I am often asked, then start listing the ones that come up:

"How did you come up with Aoumiel for your Craft Name, and how do you pronounce it?"

Aoumiel is a name that signifies to me that the God and the Goddess are the Divine. I pronounce the beginning with the all-encompassing "Aum" sound [another way to say "Om"], and add the "iel", thus--Aoumiel sounds like Awm' ee-el. The numerology of my Craft Name matches my birth number--4, which signifies foundations, the Elementals, divination, knowledge, and strength.

Question -- End of the World?:
"I have of recent been getting many questions about the world and all the people around it getting all crazy. By that I mean many people are falling into this whole Christian end of the world thing and...I wonder what is really going on. Is it the world consciousness that is pushing this whole move toward some big bang ending or is it just a few that are pushing our government into this? I feel sometimes that even my fears on this matter are becoming clouded by the mess around me. [People who]...talk about...these issues say that [they]...are having these great swellings of unease. Even my mother and my aunt that really don't put much stock in anything but what is there, are saying that they feel something big is coming..."

You are not the only one wondering about this. My personal feeling is that the Mayans created a fantastic calendar, moving from one galactic event to its repeat. About every 13,000 years the earth, sun, and galactic center line up in the 13th constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer), which was dropped from the zodiac, probably because it is huge and the sun only passes through the right foot. It's been suggested that knowledge of this constellation was one of the "mysteries" of the Templars, as well as of the maji, adepts, and druids, and that Nostradamas used a 13 House Zodiac in his predictions. On December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar ends and this coincides with alignment of the Earth, the Winter Solstice rising Sun, and the Dark Rift of Galactic Center thru Ophiuchus. Today we know that the center of the galaxy contains a black hole, and what energies will pour through in a direct stream to our planet through the Serpent Bearer is hard to tell, but some people see this as an end-times signal, while others see it as the dawning of new wisdom. In Pagan tradition, the serpent is the symbol of knowledge and rebirth, and perhaps the connection could even be made to the ancient deity Shiva, draped in snakes, Hermes with his snake encircled rod the Caduceus, or to Minerva, Athena, Cybele, and Hecate, all of whom are depicted in ancient statuary with snakes.

So to address your concerns, I do not feel that it is the end of the world, but rather the end of an era. This is when we can send into the black hole all the negativity, anger, greed, hate, envy, and violence that disturbs our planet, and draw back to earth the white light positive energy of peace, harmony, love, and caring for one another and our planet. While I will agree that there is something big coming, I feel it is a cleansing and a renewal. I am hoping that Pagan folk throughout the world are working to channel negativity into the black hole at galactic center, and channel white light energy back from there to earth. This is not the end of the world, but a time of amazing transformation! Oh, and the Mayan calendar may not actually end with this event, but simply move into another cycle.

Question -- Returning to the Craft:

I practiced the Craft for years before (for some reason) being led away, and now i feel a very strong pull back. It is as if the Great Mother and Father let me explore other alternatives before calling me back. Is it normal to have that sort of absence, and is it ok to jump back in with both feet?

Not to worry, this does happen. It could be social (or other) pressures, or friends and family that lead someone astray from their Path, but returning is usually described as a feeling of "coming home", so enjoy :)

Question -- Ostara and Crones:

"...I am nearing the stage of becoming a Crone and I'm not sure how being a Crone celebrates Ostara. I understand the three parts of the Goddess but how can I, a solitary pagan, celebrate Ostara when I start the Crone part of my life?"

Ostara is Spring and does not have to relate to your particular stage in life, but to new beginnings, fresh starts, and renewals. When you do your ritual, you can think about what you want to begin or what you want to re-energize and renew in your life. Or you could simply focus on the refreshing energy of Spring.

Question -- What is the difference is between Green Witchcraft and the Faery or Elf Traditions?

There are some common elements between the Green Craft and these two traditions, but there are also significant differences.

The Faery Tradition is not Celtic in heritage, but dates back to the 1920's and 1930's in Oregon with a blend of Hawaiian, African, and Italian paganism. Bits of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca were incorporated in the 1960's and 1970's when these writings became available to the public. The major early figures are Victor Anderson (died 2001) and Gwydion Pendderwen (died 1981).

The Faery Tradition has an emphasis on sexual mysticism of all kinds as well as ecstatic experience, possession, shape-shifting, direct communication with the Divine, magical visualization, and shamanism. The Tradition has its own liturgy and specific deities, and the members see themselves as Fey when traveling between the worlds. They do not use the Wiccan Rede, but see each person as responsible for their own actions. The Triple Goddess and Triple God come from the Star Goddess, who is the source of all creation. The three goddess aspects are Maiden, Mother, and Crone, called Nimue, Mari, and Ana. The three god aspects are Youth, Father, and Hunter, called Dian-y-glas, Krom, and Arddu. The Youthful and Aged aspects are seen as androgynous. The Star Goddess is seen as pansexual (since this form is the All) and is also called Dryghtyn. There are other names for these deities, even Cerridwen and Cernunnos are used.

The Elf Tradition, like that of the Green Craft and what in Great Britain is called the Faerie Faith (meaning the Old Religion), honors the deities and the spirits and entities of Nature. This tradition is also found in the Vanir (Nature or Fertility) level of the Northern Traditions of Norse, Scandinavian, and Germanic heritage. Frey and Freya are the Lord and the Lady of Nature, and the rulers of the human sized Elves, an immortal people of great light and beauty. Since the popularity of J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, there have been groups who incorporate his image of the Elves into their ritual and tradition. But while Tolkien thought of the Elves as angels, the Northern heritage saw Elves as deities of Nature and fertility, and it is believed today that Elves may have been the deities of the Northern Bronze Age religion.

Question -- Men in Witchcraft:
"I have been looking and many books on Witchcraft, seem to be directed mainly towards women, especially books on Wicca. Can men practice and learn Green Witchcraft?"

Yes of course men can be Witches. I keep saying in Green Witchcraft that the God and the Goddess are in Balance--meaning that they work together, are One together, and we need both in our lives for our own balance. Some books on Wicca may convey a sense of leaning towards women, but this could be simply an over-compensation for past neglect in women's spirituality, or it could be the book is written by a woman from her point of view or specifically for women, but there are also books written by men specifically for men available. Most authors do try to present a balanced outlook, however, since the Craft is definitely for anyone who wishes to embrace it.

Question -- Totem Animals:
"I read on the website that you searched for your animal totem. I have always wanted to discover my animal totem but am not sure how to go about meeting it. Is this covered in one of your books?"

You can seek your totem animal through meditation or by asking what your animal is before going to sleep, then noting your dreams.

Question -- How to Raise Energy in Magic:
"My understanding is that energy is released during particular sabats or esbats during the year (or maybe other times in between) after it is raised during ritual. What exactly happens, in other words, what exactly does the Shaman, Witch, Wiccan do to raise that energy and, in particular, release it to carry out the spellcasting (ie. breathing through the belly, jumping up and down, etc)?"

Pardon the shameless plug, but my book Green Magic gives detailed information about raising & releasing energy and the steps involved in spell creating, etc. without presenting spells, charms, or rituals -- a more advanced book in that sense. But to answer your question, energy can be raised by dancing, chanting, drumming, and visualization (drawing energy up through your body from the Earth or down through your body from the Cosmos). Energy can be released by a strongly spoken word, with a rapid breath, but most often it is done through the hands -- or the wand/athame if you are holding one of these tools and point it at an object to be empowered.

Before you start moving energy, you need to understand what you are doing and why. Raising energy in the Circle for a ritual empowers the rite and is released to the universe to celebrate life and the turning of the Wheel of the Year, but raising energy for a spell or charm empowers it and is released into the spell or charm materials through the hands or tool of your choice, such as the athame or wand.

Oh, just to clarify -- an athame is a ritual knife used to direct energy, as does a wand. A wand is usually a stick of wood about the length of your forearm and is used for the same purpose. Some wands are made of copper tubing and stuffed with herbs, crystals, and small semi-precious stones, and may be tipped with a crystal, wrapped in leather or fur, decorated with feathers, etc. Some wands are quite ornate, others quite plain. I like to use plain wood, choosing the wood according to the nature of the magic or the season. For example: oak would be God oriented, while willow would be Goddess oriented. Which tool is used, wand or athame, is just a matter of preference and personal ritual.

Question -- Parental Notification:
"We are two girls that are in their early teens and are very interested in witchcraft. We are having a hard time breaking the news to our parents. We suppose that they will take it the wrong way and probably think that it is just some teenage phase we are going through. They may perhaps even forbid us from seeing each other or exploring the craft any further. When we shared this secret with one of our friends, she seemed to have been scared of us and didn't know whether we were being serious about this. Parents are our main obstacle from becoming what we want, they want us to have a normal career and life, but they cannot control us because it is our destiny!!! We do respect them however that is why we fear telling them the truth."

At this point in your life, it is better to avoid conflict with your parents. You can read more about the path and then decide whether or not this is really what you want. If it is, then you should have care with the feelings of family and be careful in who you confide. If you are just trying to get people to notice you or feel afraid of you, that is not a good reason to look to the Craft. If you feel a connection with Nature, the tides of the Moon and seasons of the Sun, and the presence of the Goddess and the God in all things, then study through reading a variety of sources will be helpful for you. Even so, living a "normal" life is the way many practitioners see themselves. The Craft is a spirituality, and as such it is personal and most people keep it private.

Question -- Creating a Personal Grimoire:
"I see you have even published your Grimoire. Do you suggest I start my own Grimoire as I learn or is that something one does at a later stage in their witchcraft development?"

My Grimoire is there for people to use as they choose -- some folks don't have the time or patience to create their own BOS [Book of Shadows] yet want to have rituals & spell casting information available. There is a custom of new coven members copying the BOS of the coven, so it is not unheard of to give a BOS/Grimoire to Seekers. Do what feels right for you. There is a lot of information in the Grimoire that is not covered in my Green Witchcraft books, however. There are of course the Sabbats & Esbats, but also recitations, spell charts, divination techniques, etc. You could use the Grimoire to dive right in, as it were, or use Green Witchcraft I and II to read about my family Path, using the information from that book to select what you want in your personal BOS.

Question -- Silent Prayers and Lack of Rituals:
"I talk to my Lady and my Lord at bedtime in my prayers. I don't say anything out loud because my husband is laying there. Do you think that they can still hear me? And also, do you think that the Goddess and the God understand when I don't have time to do esbat rituals and sabbat rituals because my day was too hectic and I am too tired? I don't want to do these rituals when I am tired because I feel that I'm not putting my all in them and that I won't get the results that I want or need from them."

Yes, the Lady and the Lord understand -- the rituals are really for us. They don't need them -- we do. Just living every day as a ritual -- as a celebration of oneness with the Divine -- is sufficient for communion with the Divine. You will find there are times when doing a ritual feels essential for you, and when this happens, it is because the rush of daily activities has worn you down and pulled you away from feeling grounded. So sometimes you be too tired to do a ritual, but later on feel inspired to do something that lets you re-emphasize your path in your own spirit. Go with what feels right for you--trust your intuition. And certainly the Lady and the Lord hear your silent prayers. That is a form of meditation, and they do speak to people who call upon them. So, when you do your prayer, even if you are too tired to conduct a conversation, and you have a question or problem, you can express that to them and go to sleep -- then see what dreams come to you over the next few days.

Question -- First and Last Craft Names:
"Upon reading some information on a website, I noticed that there were both first and last craft names. I had never seen nor heard of this before in any other reading. I wanted to know if this was something necessary to have. I feel that my first craft name is perfect and that I do not need a last craft name. I know of no one else who has a last craft name. I explained it to my friend that the Goddess and the God would know who is speaking to them even if I only had one craft name. Please let me know what you think about this."

There are several authors who have a first and last Craft Name, but this is not the standard outside the publishing industry. Until recently I had never heard of such a thing except as used by authors as pen names (such as with Silver RavenWolf, Raven DiGitalis, etc.). You are absolutely right about the Goddess and the God knowing who you are -- even without any Craft Name, they know, but the Craft Name is like a ritual robe for the Self, and when you "wear" it, you know you are connecting with something magical and special.

I once said here that the only other thing I could imagine as being considered a "last name" was an "eke" name -- one that is used in a coven context, and is different from the Craft Name. But events have moved along, so to speak, and I am finding that lately, I am encountering people using first and last Craft Names, some of whom have legally changed their names to reflect their spiritual path. For Circle and magical workings, however, a single Craft Name is still normal. There are also people who add names to their original Craft Name as they experience and grow within the Craft and want to reflect these changes. Thus, there are Craft Names that grow in length over time and which may or may not have a connecting flow. My personal inclination is to work with one name, but that is just me. As in all things, let your own intuition be your guide.

The Working Name is the one you select for private magical work or it is the one bestowed on you by the Goddess and the God during what I call Dedication (although some Wiccan groups call this Initiation -- I discuss this in my Green Witchcraft series). The Working Name remains strictly secret between you and the Divine and is NEVER revealed to ANYONE. The Craft Name can be the same as the Working Name ONLY as long as no one besides yourself knows it, but if you are working with others, use a Craft Name. While first and last Craft Names are not customary or required in Witchcraft, the use of such is fine if you are so inclined.

Question -- Missing Planets in the Planetary Table:
"In Grimoire for the Green Witch it seems like a tiny part was left out. On page 205, the Planetary Table is missing Neptune, Uranus & Pluto. (It only shows Sun-Jupiter.) Can you tell me what the missing part is?"

The list dates back to when people were not aware of those other planets. In much of the old lore, there are only 7 planetary bodies -- this particular section in the Grimoire was re-located by the editor to fit in an available space, where as the original position was under "Planetary Spirits" (page 214 in the Grimoire) which also only shows 7 bodies: Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn. To update your personal listing, you can focus on the missing planets and consider what draws you in each of the given categories. For example, for Neptune, perhaps a good Tree would be the mangrove, for Animal: the dolphin or whale, for Flower: the water hyacinth, for Gem: a blue chalcedony, for Scent: violet. This is where you get to add your own touch to the Grimoire to make it truly yours. It might be different for others, but these are comparisons that I like -- and you utilize your list of correspondences and personal experience to fill in the gaps. You might prefer water lily for Neptune's flower, for example, or lotus, etc. Just think about these planets, what the energies mean to you, what comes to mind, and select accordingly.

Question -- Whole Name Numerology:
"In one of your books, Tarot for the Green Witch, you have a formula for your style of numerology. How would you do the Whole Name Number format? Is it as the way of Pythagoras or another system?"

I add the numbers for the letters of the first name, add the numbers for the letters of the middle name, add the numbers for the letters of the last name, then add the first, middle, and last name numbers for the whole number -- if 10 or over, reduce to a single digit. Although some two digit numbers may have magical symbolism to you, such as 10, 12, and 13, they still reduce to a single digit (1, 3, 4) and the meanings associated with those numbers. It is up to you as to whether or not your intuition is telling you to stick with the double digit or reduce or utilize both in your alignments (i.e.; house number, apt. number, etc.). Pythagoras did a lot with geometry and numbers, but I have not studied his work, so if there is a connection, it was made before my time as this is simply how I learned it.

Question -- Gays and Psyvamps in Green Witchcraft:
"When it comes to being gay, how do you think that fits in with Green Witchcraft, I tend to hear mainly the straight point of view, but very little of how it works in if you're queer. When it comes to being a psyvamp, how do you think that fits into Green Witchcraft. I hear a lot of authors say how bad psyvamps are and a lot of the time they’re writers I like and they never seem to consider how hard things can really be for a psyvamp. One author states how if you find that you have a friend who is one that you should severe all ties that you have with that friend."

I think that the gay/bi person should feel quite at home in the Green Path since the center image for the Altar in ritual is Both -- which with Shiva, is Ardhanari (Both Male & Female) & represented in statuary as split down the middle with one side Shiva and one side Parvati, showing graphically that Deity is Both in Balance.

According to ancient spirituality, the uniting of the aspects within a person was the ultimate of closeness to Divinity, and even today, respect and deference is given to the cross dresser and gay at the temples in India. Ancient Egypt saw cross-dressed men and women, or Priestesses wearing a symbolic phallic attachment. Sometimes this went to the extreme of castration for men serving their Goddess in Her temple. The Romans honored androgynies (having both or ambiguous sexual organs) and these people were found in the temples and in the highest social circles -- today, physicians alter such babies at birth, arbitrarily making them male or female, and many of these babies grow up to be very unhappy adults. It’s the mainstream religions that have imposed this on society & culture making anything not totally male or female an aberration instead of a reflection of what simple IS, and this affects 10% of the babies born in the U.S.A. alone. So, with the Green Path, you are looking at the Center -- at the Union of the Divine within -- able to connect easily with both the Goddess & the God.

As to being a psychic vampire, this means that your own energy levels are constantly "leaking" out, so when you come close to another person, you draw sufficient energy from them to make both of you have the same levels. How to work with this situation? Find the leak & plug it, LOL! Actually -- have someone do a crystal healing on your aura, or do it yourself (which, admittedly is harder). By running the crystal around your body, the healer ought to find where the hole in your aura is, and add some energy from the crystal to heal it--but the real long term healing is to find what injured you in this life or a past life that has caused the hole to appear now. Another thing you can do is look to see where Chiron is on your birth chart and use that to determine what injuries you are bringing into this life from a past life for healing. A good clairvoyant can help out with that as well. Sometimes, just becoming aware is sufficient to release the problem. Other than these ideas, don’t isolate yourself or hang with only one person -- hey, the bigger the crowd the more energy to share, and the levels won’t drop so drastically for everyone.

Question -- Left-Handed Path:
"What is meant by the 'left hand path'?"

While I don’t personally use the term Left-Hand Path, I have seen it used to refer to anything from negative magics, to Satanism, to working with the Dark Powers. In regards to Satanism, that is simply a rejection of Christianity, not a practice of Witchcraft -- you have to believe in the Christian Devil to be a Satanist, and Witches do not. In regards to negative magics, energy is energy and it is only the intent of the Practitioner that makes it positive or negative. Dorothy Morrison does a great workshop on "Swifting the Energy" talking about how you can simply redirect any negative energy coming your way to fulfill a positive desire of your own. I liken this to pulling the lever on a railroad to make the train switch tracks. Why let the energy go to waste when you can put it to work for yourself! In regards to working with the Dark Powers, I see Light and Shadow as two sides of the same coin. The God is both Greenman and Hunter, the Goddess is both Earth Mother and Crone. I do not believe we should ignore an aspect simply because it is that of passage and transformation, although we may have a preference of what aspect we want to address most often. Nevertheless, I consider "right-hand" and "left-hand" as unsuited to a balanced practice of the Craft.

Question -- Unisex Deity:
"I believe only in One God, unisex. Not in God and Goddess. Would it be problem for practicing magic?"

The idea of a unisex Divine is not unusual -- this is in fact the Balance, the Goddess and God in Union, as was seen in ancient Egypt as Atum, in India as Shiva Ardhanari [Shiva Half Male and Half Female], and in Rome as Mercury. There are many cultures that have seen the Divine as unisex, so that is fine for Witchcraft. You would be working with the Goddess and the God as One.

Question -- Spirits Coming and Going:
"I was able to feel an invisible being with me, now its gone. Also my feeling for energies has weakened. Can you advise me on how to become more sensitive again or even to see them?"

Don't worry about invisible beings around you one day and not the next as this may mean that the being has left for awhile, was only there for a particular instruction, or is being less intense around you so as not to interfere in your life path. Beings come and go, become more or less noticeable as you need them to be.

Question -- Wicca or Witch:
"Could you please tell me what the difference is between a Wiccan and a Witch?"

What a great question this one is--seems to come up quite a lot.

While the terms Witch and Wiccan are often interchanged, not all Witches consider themselves to be Wiccan and not all Wiccans consider themselves to be Witches. To some Wiccans, there is a distinction drawn between ritual practices and magical practices, so that the Wiccan is someone who follows the Gardnerian (and offshoots such as Alexandrian or Saex-Wicca) Tradition rituals of the Sabbats, the Esbats, and various Rites of Passage (Initiation, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Degree) in a coven format. For some Wiccans, the practice of magic is not really part of their path unless it comes in the course of a formatted ritual (like Drawing Down the Moon, etc.).

These rituals are considered the spiritual side, while actual magical practices are considered the non-spiritual side, or Witchcraft, with the emphasis on the craft. Scott Cunningham made such a distinction in his book on "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner". His book has had (and continues to have) a tremendous impact on the nature of Wicca, for he has made it clear that you don't have to be part of a coven to be Wiccan. There are some Wiccan Traditions that do not agree with this. Also, there are now many more Wiccan Traditions, not really connected to the original Gardnerian practices. Many Eclectic Traditions with various practices have become well-established and gained recognition in the community.

For the Green Witch, there is no distinction between the magical workings and the ritual observances. When you do spells, charms, etc., you are invoking the energies of the Divine through whatever objects being used, for all is interconnected through the Goddess and the God. To be a Witch is to be a spiritual person who works with the energies, entities, and spirits of Nature, and thus with the Divine. Also, part of Witchcraft has always been the ritual observance of the seasons and the observance of the phases of the Moon, so to me the differentiation made by some Wiccans between spirituality & practice is non-existent.

The terms have become blended over the past 20 years for communication purposes as more and more non-covened Practitioners embrace the Craft with a spiritual and/or magical focus. If some people do not think Witchcraft is spiritual, and you are talking with them, you might simply say you are Wiccan. Or, if you are in a legal situation, you can use the term Wicca to describe your religion. Witchcraft and Wicca are like two circles that intersect, and share certain commonalities at their intersection, while maintaining certain distinguishing characteristics.

Question -- 10% of U.S. Babies Born as Sexually Ambiguous:
"You said that10% of the babies born in the U.S.A. alone are altered at birth to be male or female...I find this ten percent figure to be very startling and am curious as to where you obtain this data. Do you refer to children with physical aspects of both genders, or simply to those who feel an emotional/mental/hormonal alignment with both genders? I find it puzzling because I have never personally known a person who had been born with physical aspects of both genders...one would think that if one out of ten people were born with both genders, you'd hear about it a little more often and/or more people would be choosing not to surgically alter their babies, and/or we would see a little more physical variation in the genitals of our sexual partners (and what to speak of scars)... I hope that the explicit nature of it is not offensive to you."

Your question is not at all offensive--and your surprise is not at all unexpected. It is a genuine physical phenomenon, or as our doctors would call it, an "abnormality", not a psychological condition. I suspect that parents who have this surgery done do not tell their children about it, and this was confirmed for me in a program addressing the matter. Physicians counsel the parents against this so as to prevent children from having doubts about what their sex is.

I know the 10% figure is alarming--I was astonished to read about this myself in a medical journal a dozen years ago, and then I was amazed that the matter actually made it to television, re-confirming the data in a program dealing with the decision making process and results. The TV program (on The Learning Channel) presented the issue from the perspective of doctors, parents, psychologists, and adults who now resent having been altered as children--some of whom have since been sexually transgendered but still not able to feel right about who/what they are. Mostly, they were upset that the choice was made for them, and now they are trying to reclaim who and what they are.

It is a very complex issue. Doctors pressure the parents into doing what they call a sex-identification type of surgery, letting the parents decide what sex to make the baby often based upon what the doctors see as the predominate characteristics presentable in an infant--but this can go totally awry when puberty hits and the body starts pumping out hormones of the opposite sex not chosen for the genitals! In some cases from the program, countering hormone treatment is used to maintain the selected sexual identity--talk about confusing!

Most parents do not speak of the surgery to their children or anyone else--the idea promoted is that if you say something, it might cause the child to pick up on this and be emotionally or psychologically influenced by this. The affected people interviewed were surprised to discover their true history, horrified that they had been operated on, and confused as to what their identity truly is. Parents always had the same story--they thought they were doing the right thing for their child. Granted there were some cases where the grown child was comfortable with the choice made, but the question still remains as to how they would have developed on their accord.

The theory is that if a baby is allowed to grow up with both or with indistinguishable genitals, the child will be ostracized by peers and made to feel embarrassed, etc. Psychologists warn of psychological damage to the growing child resulting from this lack of male or female sexual identity.

Question -- Celtic Deities in Green Witchcraft:
"I have been a Green Witch for nearly three years now and I have been incorporating Celtic deities in my magic, but your site says that Green Witches only use nature deities, so can I still use Celtic ones?"

I tell people to go with what feels right and to trust their intuition. You may find that different aspects of the Divine come to you, and not all of these aspects may be in the same "pantheon" so there is plenty of room for flexibility :) Many Celtic deities are Nature-oriented, as with Cernunnos and Cerridwen, for example. Nature deities are often called by names that relate to their aspect, such as Cernunnos translating to Horned One. As I said, go with what works for you.

Question -- Craft Names and Expense of Magical Tools:
"I read about having a Craft name in Green Magic: The Sacred Connection to Nature...is there a simple ritual or spell that I could do in order to receive my name from the Lord and Lady? As a new child of the Green path, I feel that I won't be ready to actually begin anything until I receive a name...I don't have much supplies at all nor have I much money to spend."

You pick a name that works for you, perhaps from your interests or from a vision or special attraction, and that is your Craft Name. No ritual really is needed for that, but you can announce that name in an Initiation Ritual (see Green Witchcraft, or Grimoire for the Green Witch for a ritual).

You do not need any tools for the Craft, or you can use what Nature provides. Witchcraft can be totally natural, utilizing what you already have available. For example, for a wand--a stick from a tree, for an athame--a letter opener or pocket knife, and for a chalice--a water glass, a cup, or a mug. The only real expense is for candles, and maybe a stick of incense, but even then, you can simply burn some herbs gathered (such as lavender flowers). For magical practice, you can use things from the kitchen spice rack or what you find in Nature (tree bark, leaves, nuts, seeds, flowers, bird feathers, shells, stones, etc.) For a ritual Cakes & Wine ceremony, use cookies and water, or whatever is easiest for you to get--a roll brought back from the college cafeteria is just as good as something homemade--you empower the simple feast as part of the ritual by placing your hands palms down over the food and visualizing the energy passing from your hands into the food while you state that it is blessed through the Power of the Lady and Lord and the Elementals. Table salt and a bottle of spring water or even tap water can be used in creating blessed water and blessed salt--again, you do the empowering as part of the ritual. Ritual is not necessary to practicing the Craft, however, so go with what feels right to you. Your very day to day living can be your ritual.

Question -- All Encompassing Deities:
"In your book, Witchcraft: An Alternative Path, you speak of Initiation. How does one choose a deity to address...is it possible to have an all-encompassing Lady and Lord?"

Just as a note, that book is now out of print, but Initiation information can be found in Green Witchcraft, and in Grimoire for the Green Witch. In my Path, the Initiation is when you introduce yourself to the Goddess and the God, let Them know your chosen Craft Name, and ask them to help you to learn the Craft. There is no need to have specific deity names--most names just mean "Lady" or "Lord" only in a different language (like Freya and Frey translating to Lady and Lord), or are actually words describing some aspect of the Divine (like Cernunnos translating to "Horned One"). So using the generic words of Lady and Lord, Goddess and God, Great Mother and Great Father, etc. are all fine. Later on you may find that They come to you in certain aspects as fits your needs. But initially, yes, use the all-encompassing Lady and Lord, etc. as I just described. Not addressing the Lady and the Lord at all is a style of Craft wherein you simply work with Nature Energies & Entities, like the Elementals, Fairies, Spirits, etc. The Divine resides within all things, so even then, you are indirectly working through the Goddess and the God, just not invoking Them per se in your spellcrafting. For ritual work, you address the Goddess and the God as such or by names that you have been drawn to, but again you can use the terms stated above without naming them.

Question -- The Difference Between Fairies and Angels:
"I feel drawn to the Faery Realm, and want to know what is the difference between Faeries and angels. A psychic told me that when I arrived on Earth, I had angels all around me. I want to build a Faery Garden, but I don’t want to get in over my head...[another author] warns about Faeries. Please advise."

Some people interpret the Other People as angels to fit within the parameters of mainstream religions, in particular with Christianity. Angels have been identified in religions since ancient times as winged beings of bright light, and for some they can be a way at looking at Spirits and Nature Entities, or as guides and guardians from a higher, spiritual realm.

I don't know what experience this other author has had, but I have never had a "problem" with the Fairy Realm. If you greet with love, you receive love in return. If you are impatient, rude, or messy, they may respond the same way. A Fairy Garden sounds lovely. Go with what you are comfortable with and trust your own intuition. If you feel good with Fairy contact, then don't worry about it simply because someone else did not.

Question -- Determining if Your Path is Green:
"How does one find the right title for the path they are on. If someone is into herbs, gems and things related to nature and follow no path really but their own would that make them a Green Wiccan?"

Sounds pretty Green to me :) But titles aren't all that great--tends to pigeon hole people. My mother said, "We never name ourselves--others name us." So really, just "being" is sufficient.

Question -- Athame as a Ritual Tool:
"In your rituals, you instruct at one point to hold a knife in both hands overhead and say: "Hail to the Elementals at the Four Quarters! Welcome Lady and Lord to this rite! I stand between the worlds with love and power all around!" My question is--we are welcoming the elements and the Goddess and God with a knife in our hands???????? How is that welcoming????"

You certainly brought laughter into my morning! I can just envision you standing "on guard" with your knife, LOL!! Well, first of all, it is not just a knife but an athame, which is a powerful tool for energy transference. You are channeling energy with it, rather like holding up a blazing torch as a beacon of welcome. If you are more comfortable using a wand, use that instead. If you prefer to use open arms, do so. These rituals are "more like guidelines" --as they said about the Pirates' Code in "Pirates of the Caribbean" :)

I like to use both wand and athame in rituals, so that is what I wrote, but you should use whatever feels right for you.

Question -- Describing the Green Level:
"I had never heard about the 'green level' of Witchcraft. What are the other levels?"

In my books I talk about the term "Green" as referring to Nature, the use of herbs, and the connection to Fairy. This color was historically considered "unlucky" unless a person were in tune with the Fae and there were many customs and restrictions on the making of the color (men could not be involved in some parts of the dye making process for green, for example). It also was an indicator of the uncanny in any Medieval tale from the Green Knight to Greensleeves. Additionally, green is related to the Nature Deities--Frey and Freya, the Green level of the Northern Tradition. This is the foundation of the Teutonic pantheon. The other levels are the Warrior--Thor, the Red level, with the top of the pantheon being the Authority level which is split between the Ruler--Odin, the Blue half & the Lawgiver--Tyr, the White half. For more information on the Northern Tradition, I recommend "Northern Magic" by Edred Thorsson, published by Llewellyn Publications. Blue and White are still associated in religious art with law and authority, so it is interesting to see paintings of Mary, with unbound hair, dressed in white and blue while standing on a crescent moon, with a snake gazing up at her in adoration--it is SO Pagan! This image gives Mary the power of law and authority associated with such Goddesses as Minerva, Athena, and Danu.

Question -- Relating the Christian Trinity to Paganism:
"I can understand that with the superimposition of Christianity on the Old Religion how the Virgin Mary can represent the Goddess as either Maiden or Mother, but where is the Crone aspect of the Goddess? And while the Father and Son of Christianity could represent the cyclic nature of the God, what compares in Paganism to the Holy Spirit?"

The Crone aspect of the Goddess is commonly seen as Saint Ann, the mother of Mary and Grandmother of Jesus. She is the original "Immaculate Conception", then Mary, then Jesus (Catholic tradition). Ann is also a Pagan Goddess name, Anu being one of the forms, Anapurna (Ann of Abundance) another, and there are many others. There is also an early Christian tradition of the "Black Madonna" which may be seen as relating to the Crone aspect of the Goddess.

With the Holy Spirit, this is the animistic/pantheistic view that everything is alive, and the Divine Spirit is in all things. Therefore we are all connected through this Spirit, while retaining our own consciousness (awareness of Self) in our souls. The Holy Spirit is the life essence in all things. This is why most descriptions of the pentacle relate the arm and leg points of the star to the Elementals Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the topmost point to the Spirit. I prefer to see the topmost point as the Self--the Individual, and see the center portion of the star as related to Spirit, thus connecting all the points through the Divine Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes from the God, but is manifested in physical form through the Goddess. Just as additional information, in some Hindu views, a Holy Trinity depicts God the Father as Brahma, the Son as Vishnu, and the Holy Spirit as Shiva. Hinduism utilizes many perspectives, of course, and that is one reason why it is such a workable and living religion.

Question -- Blue Moon:
"I have been an astrologer for years but was puzzled when someone mentioned "blue moon"--I even heard about it on the weather channel. In astrology, the blue moon would be the second full moon in the same sign not the same calendar month, so the second one would indeed be more intense because that energy had already been addressed. Any clarification from the Witchcraft point of view would be appreciated."

Good question. The Blue Moon is determined by two methods--the first is as the second full moon in the same solar month, which is what I use, and the second is as the second full moon in the same seasonal quarter. The latter option is derived from the 1937 Farmer's Almanac of Maine. Well, different strokes for different folks. There is usually a time lag of a year between the first type of Blue Moon and the second type, and one journalist has cheerfully suggested celebrating them both. Trust your intuition--if one or another resonates for you, then that is the one to go with.

Question -- Light and Dark Deities:
"What is the difference between dark and light Gods and Goddesses?"

Dark or Light deities simply refers to their "aspects". Light is the youthful & the mature aspect of the Divine: Maiden/Mother/Wise Woman for the Goddess; Child of Light/Father or Greenman for the God, while Dark is the elderly aspect as related to the transition of the spirit through death passage. For the Goddess this is the Crone or Hag that is mythically related to Winter and shows Her as the barren and wrinkled earth. The Cailleach is one such Goddess image. For the God this is generally His aspect as the Horned Hunter, leading the Wild Hunt, gathering spirits, and His aspect as the Lord of the Underworld such as with Pluto (Greek is Hades, Etruscan & British version is Dis). So the God both gathers the spirits and gives them a place of repose & rest, but to get from there, the spirits pass through the Goddess--She IS the passage. This is one of the mysteries of the Old Religion--She is both the tomb & the womb, for what dies goes through Her to be reborn.

Question -- Procuring Herbs:
"How can I get some of the herbs that are talked about in your book Grimoire for the Green Witch? There is one in particular--Mugwort. Thank you!"

If not in your local metaphysical shop, try looking for an herb store or health food store. There are also many herbal suppliers on the Internet, so look for those and see what kind of ratings they have. You can also consider getting seeds and growing your own.