The Sylvan Tradition

Woodcut of a witches' circle

The Green Star Grove is part of the Sylvan Tradition, a magic-working, earth-based Witch tradition. We consider Witchcraft not as a religion with rules and doctrine but as a craft and a way of life. We celebrate diverse viewpoints and believe in no set dogma, but have found a working approach that meets our needs.

Because the Sylvan Tradition teaches that the earth is sacred in itself, tradition members generally don’t banish negative energy from an area before we raise a circle. Neither do we guard the circle, as most of us believe no opposing energy can coexist with the elements, our patron deities, and the fey, whom we invite into the circle as the ritual begins.

Similarly, because the elements can be found in all directions, the Sylvan Tradition doesn’t link elements with directions. Because we find the elements already present, the tradition doesn’t invoke elements but rather calls them to join the circle and aid us.

The Sylvan Tradition works with the fey, including elementals and devas. We ask everything aligned with us to aid our magic. Our tradition is named Sylvan, which means “of the forest,” to honor our connection to all seen and unseen forest things, especially trees, which the tradition considers some of the most balanced beings in nature. The forest is also the home of the fey, middle agents between ourselves and nature who help us stay in harmony with nature. Part of the Sylvan Tradition is consideration for the earth.

Though we repeat some rituals, most Sylvan rites are created by tradition members in honor of a particular Sabbat or Moon, or to achieve a particular goal. In a Sylvan Tradition ritual, the high priestess usually cuts a first circle widdershins to acknowledge existing chaos, to take the circle out of mundane time and space, and to transport it and the participants to magical space.

The Sylvan Tradition began in the 1970s in Northern California, with roots in older traditions.