Great Witch Florina Ofelia Albu
I was delighted to meet with Great Witch Florina Ofelia Albu earlier this week for a frank and candid interview about her living her life as a practicing witch or Wicca in Lady Wood, Leyburn, North Yorkshire. This is part one of my two part transcript article.
This is the transcript of my recent interview with Witch or practicing Wicca Florina Ofelia Albu.
Count Marco: How long have you been practicing the magic of Wicca?
Florina: I started practicing and being affiliated in Wicca since about 1991, so nearly twenty years now.
Count Marco: What does being a Wiccan mean to you?
Florina: To understand my reply you would need have a better comprehension about the history of Wicca. Wicca is actually relatively newer in relation to the earliest theology. Its about reclaiming the ideology drawn from Irish, Greek, Roman and other various traditions blended in with Shamanism, Hoodoo, Ceremonial Magician, Mason and of course Witchcraft itself. In summary as a Wicca it means that I look to venerate the Earth, Sun and moon cycles. I personally do this via devotion of the God and Goddess and the assorted elements that make up Mother Earth – Gaia. We refer to this as the Wheel of the Year. All existence is sacred and I have a deep connection as a Wiccan to the very earth that we exist on. Part of my doctrine is that I practice the Divine Art of Magic. One of the main differences is that we do not have the clergy; all of us as Wiccans are active as priestesses and priests. Aligning ourselves with the contrasting cycles of the earth, the moon, and the earth as a satellite of the Sun. By this we are permitted to evolve just as everything else does. We try to learn lessons that we can advance ourselves in this life as part of our evolving progression.
Count Marco: What about reincarnation?
Florina: Yes, we do hold a distinct acceptance that when this cycle of our evolvement is achieved we will actually return and master new important lessons in our future lives.
Count Marco: Where do you worship and in what sort of sanctuary or church?
Florina: We worship regularly in many sorts of organisations. For example we have Covens; when we join in a Coven it is a structured setting and usually in a property that allows us the come all together not just in glorification but also for educating ourselves. Smaller groups brought together in local communities are titled Circles. In this setting they practice with regard to what the actual community needs; it may be agricultural or ritual study or the further empowerment of woman. We also have family traditions which are practiced from generation to generation. Each clan does this in their own exclusive way, with their own rites and practices. Also in addition to the above we have another common practice – this is named The Solitary. Occasionally practiced alone or in really small gatherings of no more that two or three Wiccans. Usually celebrating on holidays which we call Sabbats, sometimes in groups but usually in private.
Count Marco: How can someone become a Wiccan?
Florina: If you wanted to become a Wiccan all you would need to do is to accept to be one. Quite often people say that just calling yourself a witch doesn’t make you one, however just being one does. The choice is clear; honor the earth, Sun and moon and all its cycles. By honouring this magnificent connection we do so to enlighten and richen our development and meaning. So in reality to become a Wiccan depends actually on how you undertake it and with who you do so. Covens do have initiations, degrees, sponsorship and ordination of various clergy. Usually you spend one year and a day on each level training and understanding the way of that particular course. It is not a secretive group, we are just very private. In some ways churches embrace similar levels of standards but also require adherence to the church. Clergy can take different degrees. Most though are more open and in the free domain. In smaller groups you may find that the have basic initiations ceremonies. The clergy is most often held by group permission. This is completed in the role of one of the Elders. However its my belief that Solitary is the most blessed requirement. Just a simple glorification from yourself to the Gods is required.
Count Marco: How can someone become a Wiccan? What religion were you raised up in? Did you ever practice another faith?
Florina: I was raised an practiced as a Catholic, I went to Catholic schools and had communion and confirmation. Over the years I looked to find carefully which faith could move me. I did briefly attend Jehovah Witness, Seven Day Adventist, variety of non-denominational Christian churches. I had the good fortune to attend magnificent ceremonies and rites at Jewish, Hindu and Islamic events. This is how I was brought onto the my present path.
Count Marco: Which day in the week is the Sabbath for you?
Florina: In Wicca there is no specific day of the week that we call “Sabbath”. We do not have any particular day that we refer to as Sabbath as we hold each and every day sacred.
Count Marco: What do you think the main differences between Wicca and other religions?
Florina: I think that there is a common fiber that connects all religions. There are times however when our differences stand out to a greater extent than other times. We do embrace the reclamation’s of a lot different pagan traditions and followings throughout the world and from all times. In the main our holy days follow the actual cycles of the earth as it gyrates around the sun. That is why we enjoy an agricultural attitude within our religion. All of us separately execute magic rites. There is no particularly anointed clergy that is an authority or speaks in the name of the Gods. Reincarnation is very much part of our understanding, similar the the understandings of Eastern practices it is more lesson orientated. We do not imagine that our path is the only true or best way to practice. We do not surmise that there is just one way to practice. We powerfully think that religion evolves just as our planet and all of us, on it do. Even though we try to find a more certain reclamation of our past traditions we feel certain that in honesty we are humans and therefore the only true path is the one that each of us walks personally.
Count Marco: Is there a rule book or a bible that you follow?
Florina: We have no book; nothing was handed down from prehistoric woman or man. Neither do we have any prophet that spoke to the Almighty Divine. Any or most of our history has been eradicated in times of fear and panic. We refer to these times as the Burning Times. Different Wiccan’s have journals and books that are filled with, Sabbats, rituals, esbats, spells, writings and various pertinent instruction; recipe books, grimoires and of course the name that people usually know; The Book of Shadows. Each individual Wiccan has their own private Book of Shadows that they record throughout their own existence with illumination including the Coven, Circle, Church or teacher that coached them the way. This is a most intimate, confidential and valuable possession to a Wiccan. However it is the beliefs, the practices that go into the book that are of the greater importance.
Count Marco: Who is your God?
Florina: We actually have plenty names for all our Gods. We have for example The Goddess and God. We also have the Lady & the Lord and the Father & Mother. Other names would be based on and be more specific akin to the tradition that the individual Wicca follows. There are Greek, Roman and Celt Gods and many more. This is a very intimate and individual choice. We do know that all the Goddess and God but they have exceptional distinctive aspects. For me I follow my Lord Bacchus who is the Lord God of Wine and Merriment. He is special to me, he relates to the light and dark side to me, absolutely experiencing life in the fullest. My Lady is a three fold Goddess named The Fates. These wise woman continually enlighten and lead me how to evaluate my actions as well as achieve different milestones, that I have to run into as I walk my path. They are the wise women, who constantly teach me to balance my actions and achieve milestones, that I must meet on my pathway.
Count Marco: Do men and women have equality in your religion and can woman hold leadership positions?
Florina: Just like our Divinity which hold duality, equality is certainly the way of Wiccans. Women and men hold equality in Wicca and can reach any authority position they desire. In every woman and every man there are qualities of both masculine and feminine. Historically the women quite often held positions of power due the very fertility of their gender. This is certainly a most cherished and sacred blessing. Lots of our various rites do represent God as the hunter who brings rebirth to us via death. But as I described previously to you, Wicca is an unceasingly developing modus operandi and function. As our society has taken the many-sided aspects of the contrasting roles of woman and men, so has our very belief as Wiccans grown. Lots of woman groups exist now that have high priestess but no actual male priest. Some homosexual and lesbian groups now have high priestess positions held by woman and naturally vice versa. The essential point to recognize here is that it absolutely is nothing to do with your gender, but more to do with the actual hearing within the individual.
Count Marco: Now I would like to discuss in more detail various rites of initiation and the different magic rites that you perform. I am also particular interested to discuss what type of things you have included in your own personal Book of Shadows.
Florina: Certainly I would be delighted.
to be continued…..