The Wardwell Tradition of American Witchcraft

Last night (Autumn Equinox 2017) marked a historic moment for the Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick as a coven.  September 22, 1692 was the day when Samuel Wardwell, eight-times direct great-grandfather of SWOM founder and High Priestess Nikki Wardwell Sleath, was hanged in Salem, MA on the charges of witchcraft.  The deaths that happened in the Salem and other witch trials were certainly wrong and fear-based, and many people say that the accused were most certainly not witches.  I think what they mean is that the accused were not witches according to the definition of the times, which refers to one who has gained powers by making a deal with the devil.  The thing about Samuel is that when you dig for personal accounts of him, there is a document that references his ability to tell fortunes with cards, and to know the future from dreams.  Pair this with the fact that he and his wife owned one hundred and eighty acres of good land (which by law could be seized when one entered a plea upon accusation) and he was an easy target for the blaming hysteria of the times.

So, here we are, with Autumn Equinox, a time of balance, falling on the exact 325th anniversary of Samuel’s death.  At this time, I, Nikki, happened to have evolved not only to become a formally trained witch myself, but to have formed and grown a large successful coven with its own unique combination of training and rituals.  Not only am I here publicly teaching and practicing witchcraft in a time when I am fortunate enough not to be persecuted for it, but I happen to have precognitive and spiritual dreaming and card reading as two of my more developed magickal talents.  I don’t think there is any coincidence there, and I believe trends and talents like this very well may run in families.  Samuel has come through to myself and other members of the coven in various forms of spirit contact, and seems to be honored that we honor, think of and communicate with him.  It feels as though our actions of being a good influence on the community in the name of witchcraft is helping to slowly right a wrong.  Now, the Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick’s style qualifies in general as American Witchcraft, but since it is growing and creating more teachers, it deserves its own subset label to clarify it further within that broad category.  In our large ritual gathering for the Equinox, on the anniversary of the death of Samuel Wardwell, we formally honored him and consecrated the name of our own unique format as the Wardwell tradition.  In the dark of the autumn night, around a ritual bonfire, 40 members of our coven witnessed this official blessing.  We hope that in putting his name on our tradition, that we will continue to spread acceptance and bring balance back for witches and magickal practitioners to come.  We certainly feel that Samuel approves.  From those of us now practicing the Wardwell tradition of American Witchcraft, Blessed Be.

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