We lost a brother the other day. Raymond Buckland passed through the veil leaving a magickal legacy that witches, Wiccan or not, will embrace for years to come. His was a life well-lived and I confess to owning a couple of his books, Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft as well as Wicca For One: The Path of Solitary Witchcraft. Both are wonderful resources for anyone’s library.
I’ve never belonged to any particular tradition nor have I ever been in a coven. I knew I was a witch when I was small and I’ve always walked my own path. I’ve flown under the radar for most of my life, like many of us do, hiding in plain sight, even from our own families. No one questions the incense or candles or the endless presence of crystals but eventually even the most stealthy of witches tires of the subterfuge and begins living her truth in full view of family and friends, often in the Crone phase of life.
I remember as a young child having memories of castles and coastlines and I was particularly drawn to both Ireland and Nova Scotia. I knew my maternal grandmother was born in Ireland but somehow it felt more than that. My connection to Nova Scotia would come much later when I began researching my ancestry. A group of my ancestors arrived there from Scotland and their descendants live there today. And my need to know about Nova Scotia bordered on obsessive. I’m drawn to stonework, to stone buildings and rock walls and fence lines. I love port cities and craggy coastlines. And it’s always felt as if I lived there before but in a different time and place, familiar but distant.
I’ve also been drawn to symbols, runes in particular, and with a Norse and Druid background, that too resonates. But none of it made any sense until later on in life when I learned about my heritage. When I began reading the works of other witches such as Raymond Buckland, I found that they echoed many of my own beliefs, a synchronicity that became a comfort. We all take on different definitions, even those witches in traditional covens, that resonate the most from kitchen witch to eclectic witch to my own hedgewitch identity. Some witches align with the elements and refer to themselves as Earth, Water, Fire, or Air witches. Some align with Goddesses and some with all things herbal calling themselves green or herbal witches. Hedgewitches align with Earth energies and herb magick with a little hedge riding thrown in otherwise known as shamanic journeying. Folk traditions such as hoodoo exist along with root working and conjure with many learning at the knee of a grandmother but without someone like that, witches often cobble together our own traditions by learning from others.
They say some feel a calling to be a witch. I suppose that’s true but for me, I haven’t been aware of anything else. The family is large and varied, our individual differences enrichening all. And witches such as Raymond Buckland give many of us a place to begin and a place to make sense of who we are. Many witches and magicians over the years including Gerald Gardner, Christopher Penczak, Starhawk, Silver Ravenwolf, and the late Scott Cunningham and Donald Kraig, among so many others, have contributed to a vast library of resources that witches have sought out to understand magick and the energetic world around them. We read the works of John Dee, Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Eliphas Levi and Edward Kelly along with the Key of Solomon, the Kybalion, and the Emerald Tablets of Thoth. Hermetic traditions influence as does Druidic practice and it can be said that witches are forever searching for the greater truths that govern all of creation.
The runes Wunjo and Fehu on the altar suggest a joyous passage through the veil and Othala in the center depicts a life well-lived and the legacy left behind. Uruz manifests future traditions while Jera represents the turning of the Wheel. Newer traditions are built from the awareness and workings of witches who have come before us. But eventually, we all contribute to the greater understanding of magick and the energetic world around us. With the passing of Raymond Buckland, witches celebrate his life and his legacy and the contribution he made and will continue to make in our lives.
Blessings to Mr. Buckland’s family and to witches everywhere during this time of remembrance. We are forever one family and our presence in this world is needed now more than ever.
Blessed be the witches!