Witchcraft is one of the more mainstream branches of pagan practices. Starting on 24th February, Baphomet Lodge is running a range of workshops here in Cambridge, teaching the core principles every budding Wiccan needs to know. From the “Powers of crystal healing” to the “creation of spells”, these classes bring magic into the modern world. Baphomet Lodge itself was established in 2003 and offers all its members the chance to study scripture and master the Art of Witchcraft. The founder of the Lodge, Jonathan Ludd, was initiated into the world of Wicca himself at a young age and has recently made the decision to publish several books to bring his knowledge to a wider public. Here he tells Thursday about his own beliefs and the workshops that he has organised.
What are the main differences between paganism and Wicca?
Paganism movements were established in ancient Sumerian lands with archive clay tablets and records dating back beyond 7500 BCE. The evolution of religious practice has permitted the dilution of scripture and belief systems in ways that have taken the practice of the ancient art so far removed that it is merely unrecognisable in the majority of neo-pagan groups. Paganism has started to move backwards in our current times, back to its source, thus empowering the original source and wealth of information of times past to be observed once more with a need of “elemental” Earth worship groups to identify with the past and, more importantly, their ancestors.
People will generally focus upon the New Age movement and classify Paganism as “New Age” or even use the term “Wicca” to identify the old religion. One may consider that if Paganism in its true form dates back to the Sumerian Lands, it is far from being “New”. Furthermore, the Wicca movement does not represent the old religion in correct fashion. Wicca was re-born in 1947 and is considered by most Craft as a new concept.
The Term “Craft” is used to represent an individual who sought the path of the old religion and came to the religion as a “seeker”, has been empowered to be “dedicated” to the Witch’s Circle, has moved onwards and upwards to be initiated with an old religious circle in true form, and finally having achieved such stages of their personal development, has moved onwards to identify with a “core path” within the religion, so to work towards becoming a “Practitioner” of the art.
How and when did you first become interested in paganism and what first attracted you?
My family are, and I guess will always be part of the Craft. It is important to remember here that there are many variations to Witchcraft (i.e. different paths) just as there are in other religions. The main focus must always be on being true to your path; more importantly, true to yourself.
What have been the highlights of your career?
Oh my, where do I begin? a Senior Care Director within Community Care. I founded Baphomet Lodge in the United Kingdom some years ago… Now have lodges in the USA and in South Africa. So for me the sense of wellbeing of myself and others is paramount. On one hand you assist the community with health and social care needs, then on the other hand are able to assist with Spiritual need-a holistic approach in a modern world.
Could you tell us a little about the books you have coming out?
Sure; I have five books in total being launched. I think for me it has always been a frustration over the years-so many views, so many belief systems. The key purpose of releasing my books to the public “at large” is to ensure that people realise that Witchcraft is not about the movies. It is about embracing a living life, tuning into nature and-more importantly-having fun. The Pagan Book of Wisdom and Knowledge is released on 29.02.2008, and Secret Art and Magical Practice is launched in December this year. Both books are available at Amazon web sites, a must for Pagans and Witches of all levels of understanding.
You are running various workshops in Cambridge and the first is entitled “Paganism in the modern world”. Do you feel paganism is becoming more or less popular with the progression of time?
Paganism as a whole has been reawakened. There is a great deal of interest in the subject area-a pleasing sight to see.
Do you expect the classes to be very popular?
Yes; as the world awakes to the revival, so will the need and want of learning.
And do you think novels like Harry Potter and Philip Pullman books are having a positive or negative impact on the reputation of witchcraft?
A positive impact-children everywhere are now realising that Paganism is an exciting, thrilling ride of Spiritual Awareness.
I was wondering if you could tell me a little about the use of herbs, crystals and candles in witchcraft and the nature of spell-making?
Have you got five years spare?
Are there specific guidelines or is it a very personal experience?
A combination really, of scripture and experience as a whole.
Why did you choose Cambridgeshire for the foundation of the Baphomet Lodge, is it a particularly spiritual place?
I chose Cambridgeshire, as it is where I live, a wonderful place full of interesting people.
Guided Teaching in groups of 25 Max
Fee: £45 per course
Includes: Lunchtime snacks, refreshments and study materials
24th February Paganism in the Modern World
30th March The powers of inner thought
27th April Creating a space to focus and travel
25th May The powers of crystal healing
29th June The use of herbs from a Craft perspective
27th July Candle magic and creation of spells
31st August The Keys of Magic
28th September Into the light: an ancient act of witchcraft
26th October The powers of meditation
30th November Birth, Death and Ceremony