by Krystal Rains
My adventures in the Arte of Traditional Witchcraft began in a Pirate store. I managed a store in North Hollywood and with what I learned later was a bit of encouragement from several close friends, Griffin Ced came to visit one day in 2007. After a delightful conversation, we scheduled the first of three classes at the store. My introduction to the Arte was a class named “Cosmology of the Craft”. Listening to Griffin explain the framework of a magical universe in which I could have a direct personal influence was amazing. My first Traditional Witchcraft ritual shortly after the class was with Hecate, and I carry the key I received with me to this day, nearly 10 years later. After some different locations over a few years, the classes with Griffin took root at The Green Man store in North Hollywood on Lankershim Blvd and have grown and blossomed in the most magical of paths over the last 7 years.
Traditional Witchcraft in the manner taught by Griffin is an Airts tradition, working with the spirit of things rather than an elemental system. Set on a compass, rather than within a circle, it is a way to journey and cross hedges to evolve. Over the years of classes, I have learned that it is a wonderful toolbox that can be applied in many situations with many deities and cosmologies. One of the first times I consciously used the tools of the Craft on my own was to help memorialize a friend. In setting the space for the public memorial, Griffin suggested setting the space with ‘water’ in all directions. In the North I placed the spirit of water in the air, which seemed to me, to be clouds and rain. In the East I placed the spirit of water in fire, being steam and humidity. In the South, the spirit of water in the manifest world, as rivers, streams and oceans. In the West, the spirit of water in water…the mists of our loved ones and ancestors. Water is a medium of transition and when placed in all four directions, it provided the spirit of my friend an easy crossing to the other side of the veil. On a mundane note, I noted several people were quite uncomfortable with the humidity on a normally dry day, and I realized there was certainly an effect on the manifest world, when I set the intention of spirit in this manner, or as many say, “as within, so without.”
Through classes and rituals, using every opportunity to learn, grow and evolve…my life is certainly different than I could have ever imagined. I have been taught that any cosmology could be set on the compass in this manner and had an opportunity to put this into action when opportunity arose to do a rain/water ritual with the Q’ero Peruvian Shamanic archetypes and a Meso-American Rain God named Tlaloc. My normal practice when interacting with these deities is to start in the East and continue clockwise around the Mesa. In this ritual, I called quarters from North to South and then East to West. This is an alchemical connection of Spirit and Soul, then Fire and Water. My sense when centering the ritual, was of the spirits I called being slightly confused, but willing to do the work in this manner. I can’t claim to have changed the rainfall in California, as I know that I am not the only practitioner who put some efforts to our drought problem, but I won’t deny my intentions having some effect as well.
After the 101, 201 and Practical Magic series, the next step that Griffin took was to create a community group of student practitioners. The “Green Man Grove,” of which I am a participating member, provides that community a supportive opportunity to present rituals, both public and closed. Another expanding opportunity for students has been the “Awakening the Witchblood” series that has been presented for the last two falls. Each series was quite differently amazing and provoking in the expansion of my practice and understanding. If this has piqued your interest, you should not be surprised to hear me recommend a visit to The Green Man, to talk and take classes with Griffin.