Considerations & Notes Toward a Cult Devotion to Aradia

Looking at the news today, or any day really, has become difficult and fraught with many competing emotions and even more voices of varying degrees of merit. In part due to the increasing injustices facing the world, some inventive practitioners from different traditions have sought to focus their praxis as a means to better the unfortunate situations we find around us. Not unfair in the least and something I have to admire.

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of enjoying brunch with four such people, dear friends and colleagues, one of whom is one such practitioner whose work has made not insignificant headlines in the public occultism sphere.  Writing at The Modern Traditional Witch, Laura’s “We Are Aradia” has become something of interest to me as a contemporary student in one traditional witchcraft tradition, but also as someone whose own interest in social betterment finds strong intersections with magic.

While much could be said for the veracity of LeLand’s character, approaching Aradia (whether real or imagined) has become something of a welcome detour in my practice. Whether a real or fictional, she can be approached as an interface between contemporary practitioners of magic as an heroic figure representing a composite receptacle for our Mighty Dead. This, of course, is not without merit as an approach as can be seen by the number of practitioners whose devotion to figures such as Solomon, Saint Cyprian, and other Catholic folk saints can attest. Similarly, as discussed in Graveyard Wanderers, one powerful method of attaining magical power is to directly place one’s self under the power of the “Invisibles”, or simply, the Dead.

While approaching the dead of one’s own lineage or known personages is always preferable, this is not always possible and having a composite figure representing a “spiritual court” as commonly referenced in Cuban and Puerto Rican spiritualism becomes a viable method of forming a relationship with such figures. Aradia, then, becomes a spiritual court unto herself representing the many female witches and sorceresses of the past whose work is to liberate us from oppressive power structures.

“In those days there were on earth many rich and many poor. The rich made slaves of all the poor. In those days were many slaves who were cruelly treated; in every palace tortures, in every castle prisoners.

 Many slaves escaped. They fled to the country; thus they became thieves and evil folk. Instead of sleeping by night, they plotted escape and robbed their masters, and then slew them. So they dwelt in the mountains and forests as robbers and assassins, all to avoid slavery.

Diana said one day to her daughter Aradia:

‘Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,

But thou wert born but to become again

A mortal; thou must go to earth below

To be a teacher unto women and men

Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school.”[1

One method for working with Aradia in this sense would be to dedicate a space to her which one can approach a few times a week, focus on offering prayers, exercising your mediumship skills and communicating with her/them. I personally highly recommend my colleague’s approach at Crossing Sun on Tumblr for a very good model establishing a magical routine, though simply having an image or candle dedicated to her and making a novena practice may equally be desirable, especially considering the intersections between spiritualism, Catholicism and cult veneration of the dead.

To this end, one may obtain a white novena candle and either paint or apply an image of Aradia to it, place it upon one’s ancestor altar, and recite a prayer such as:

“It is true indeed that thou a spirit art,
But thou wert born but to become again
A mortal; thou must go to earth below
To be a teacher unto women and men
Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school.

Holy Aradia, daughter of Diana and Lucifer,
Give me an apt and teachable heart,
That I may learn your socerous arts,
And, in learning them, overcome the wiles
Of evil men and women who would oppress me.”

It is important to spend some time in front of the image, present offerings, and quietly listen for any advice. During this time one might also do devotional reading from LeLand’s Aradia and practice some form of divination such as with a pendulum or scrying. When you are done with your prayers and work, close with your usual prayers if you already have an established ancestor practice, or simply knock three times on the table where you are doing your work.

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[1] Leland, Aradia: or, The Gospel of Witches. 1899.

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