By Cat Gina Cole
Traditions, what are they? Why are they important? And who started them anyway?
In my line of work, I hear this a lot, typically, in reference to Paganism and Witchcraft. This topic arises because this Yule, some small traditions in my home were passed on to the next generation. Now one would think the next generation is all about bloodlines and passing things on to the younger relatives. I imagine I might be inclined to do that if my younger relatives were closer or had more interest in the family Witchcraft traditions, but my predecessors were not about requiring that what gets passed on be only to blood relatives. My predecessors, my grandmother, and mom were about passing things on to those who were worthy and interested as many groups and covens are today.
This Yule, the family cookbook, with five generations of recipes, was passed on to my first student who came to me when she was 16 and whom I took into my home as my own and helped finish raising. The cookbook represents the continued line of women in the family. The family Ouija board was passed on to my second student whom I helped get on his feet and who has remained in my life as a son. The board was significant to him. It was the board two notable Pagan elders used in my home the day he gave his palmistry workshop which was his final project before initiation into my family tradition.
A cookbook and a Ouija board by themselves seem like small insignificant things on their own until the story and the meaning behind them are known. It is the knowledge and history behind the items or teachings that reveal the deeper connections and mystery.
This is true of all magical practices. Sometimes it may not seem like what another practitioner says or teaches is very important. This is likely because you are not connected to the story and history behind how they came to know what they are teaching or saying. Knowing that is how one connects to the deeper mysteries.
For example, I taught my first student about the divine feminine through books, talking, and giving lessons, but she learns the most about the divine feminine through our continued connection as I show her by example what it means and what looks like in real life. Those examples can be something as simple as giving her a coat while I mention how to be ready to present herself by having a go bag in the car for after-work events.
Things that are given or done with deep meaning can be the start of a continued tradition. This applies to all the currently known types of Witchcraft, magical, and spiritual practices we are aware of. All of them in their beginning had someone who cared enough to pass them along and others who still care enough to pass them along. The mystery and impact comes from the deep connections and the stories that are often untold.
What traditions do you have that are mysteries and stories still untold?
Cat Gina Cole is a Herditary Witch and author of Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft (Llewellyn, 2022). She is the founder of The Coven of the Rising Phoenix and Staff Coordinator for “Green Egg Magazine.” You can reach her at www.catginacole.com.