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Knowledge vs. Wisdom



By Ardriana Cahill


When Karen Follett offers a spell to open oneself to wisdom in Llewellyn's 2004 Witches' Spell-a-Day Almanac and says..."you can read to gain knowledge, but you have to seek to gain wisdom," I wasn't sure what that meant to me.  So the following is my explanation to myself.


On Knowledge vs. Wisdom


Knowledge is but the messenger that calls you to wisdom, but it is not wisdom.  One can gain knowledge, but one does not seek wisdom - one meets it when one often least expects it and recognizes it as kindred.  Knowledge puts us in the way of wisdom, but wisdom is experiential; it is a truth one recognizes in the external world that already resides in the internal one.  One cannot *learn* wisdom - one must awaken it.  Knowledge gives you the tools but never mistake the tools for the treasure.  I find that most religions preach the tools and talk wisdom to death trying to reduce it for swift and easy consumption. Shun this habit.  Kahlil Gibran said that height and depth are nearer to each other than the mid ground.  Do not be mislead - there are no fast-food outlets for wisdom.  Simplicity is best understood as we find the endless connections in complexity.  Simplicity cannot be found in one prophet, one book, one religion or one school of study.  It is found in all of life by learning from everything - people, books, experiences, pain and pleasure, this age and ages past.  My father once said that people can learn from anything, even off of the back of a can of peas.


To seek wisdom outside oneself is to isolate oneself from the divine within and isolate oneself from all those people who have experienced the divine within themselves.  It is a very different thing to say you believe the divine in all things and actually experience this to be true.  It is a very different thing to say you accept the divine in you while you continue to treat yourself as subservient to divinity.


Western religions impose divinity upon their followers with promises of pleasure and pain.  They also demand humility from our subservient, sinful selves.  Pride is a sin and we must minimize ourselves in the name of gratitude.  We are impure and imperfect and dare not face the gods.  We kneel, we prostrate ourselves, we proclaim our unworthiness.


Pagan wisdom would have us stand tall before the gods in recognition that we are vessels of their blessings.  We are vessels of their gifts and the gift of life they bestow on us.  Pagan wisdom would have us fully experience the greatness that lies within us and asks us to awaken that greatness as a tribute to the gods.  Then we may stand proud of our *efforts* to unearth our greater selves, even as we are acutely aware that we do not author the treasure.  We acknowledge the material that we mine is their *gift* to us.  Even our ability to do this is their gift to us.  Thus, we comprehend the full capacity of humanity with gratitude.  Where each person struggles to accomplish this, is not knowing just how to unearth our greater selves.  I will tell you, it can never be done by petitioning the gods to do the work for you.  It is the single reason we were placed on earth, to achieve this ourselves.


Knowledge is intellectual - wisdom is divine.  The more you seek knowledge (all knowledge) the more wisdom you will experience.  But as my youngest daughter taught me when she was only fourteen, knowledge and wisdom use two completely different organs to communicate to you.  One is known, the other felt.  The divine speaks to us through the spirit, not the mind.  Knowledge is only the doorway to wisdom, unless you are a prophet or a madman.  But do not envy their seeming ease of access, they do not live long nor do they live well.


When wisdom is revealed to you - it does not explain itself - it reveals itself full blown, like manna from heaven on a silver platter.  It awakens within as an all encompassing flood of warm illumination or like a bolt of lightning that shocks or stuns you.  This is why the sages call it enlightenment.  Wisdom does not need digesting, deliberating, debating or dissecting by doubt or reason.  It breathes within you as calm surety and perfect peace.  It is then that you recognize intellectually that this knowledge has always been with you, just waiting for you find it.  From head to toe, you have everything you need to become extraordinary.


Being raised within three philosophies, I was born studying comparative religions, Mother a Pagan/Catholic and Father a Buddhist.  This flaw in Western versus Eastern philosophy, of imposing divinity upon their followers, requires followers to be trained in how to experience the divine.  They teach god as external - outside of humanity, living in some spiritual realm.  They teach their followers that to internalize god is the goal of life and that this can only be done through knowledge: scripture (words), law (words), and prayerful petition (words).  Many followers fail to achieve this divine goal because knowledge is the language of humans.  This failure is evidenced the past 50 years by the slow recession of devotees.  Eastern philosophy teaches that the divine resides only in the living - only in life - only in you.  Eastern philosophers are born achieving the goal of Western philosophy.  While you live, you are the caretaker of the divine within you.  Knowledge tells you that your capacity to love is your proof that the soul exists and your soul is proof of the divine exists.  However, love is not an intellectual experience; this alone should tell you which vehicle the divine uses to reveal wisdom.


There is wisdom in Nature and knowledge in Scholarship.  Nature teaches us what works and what doesn't work.  Knowledge teaches us how to use our senses, how to observe nature, how to evaluate it, how to record life lessons, and how others before us did the same.  We first learn wisdom in life by experience, (usually painful experience) and then as we grow, we recognize wisdom in life by example.  Through knowledge and wisdom, we eliminate fear, which produces understanding.  We begin to understand who we are and why we are here.  We recognize with generosity, others stumbling while seeking their way, and develop a keen awareness and love for the miracle that is all Life - and that includes oneself.


There is no spell to achieve this.  Wisdom is a life long experience.  You must seek knowledge to awaken wisdom.  The more we know, the more we realize how much we don't know.  The wiser we grow, the more wisdom we sense is yet to be discovered.  With each step, we grow larger in each other's sight, we grow larger in the sight of the gods, and it follows, the gods grow larger within us.  Experiencing this knowledge, we find true humility and peace from the inside out.


But do the spell anyway, to open that first door.



Ardriana Cahill

Copyright © Ardriana Cahill


The Spell by Karen Follett

Unveiled Wisdom Spell

Recently a student of the craft commented that she wanted publishers to produce more books that revealed the deeper wisdom of the craft.  After a brief period of pondering, I replied to her that you can read to gain knowledge, but you have to seek to gain wisdom.  Words are merely mundane symbols that communicate thoughts.  Thoughts, however, are doorways across the matrix of time and dimension, providing the path to the wisdom of the ancients.  The wisdom has always been in print.  But, it is up to you to seek the wisdom behind the word.  During this Full Moon take the opportunity to either begin or further this quest.  Choose a passage that either inspires or perplexes you.  State these words:

I speak the word,

I read the line,

reveal to me the wisdom divine.

Repeat your chosen passage.  Meditate on the physical level of this passage.  What do the words say to you?  Take the passage to the emotional level.  What feelings does the passage stir?  Take the passage to the mental level.  What other meanings can be derived from the passage?  Take the passage to the spiritual level.  What messages are you receiving about the passage?

Written by Karen Follett.

From Llewellyn's 2004 Witches' Spell-a-Day Almanac.


Ardriana is a wonderfully wise and long time friend.  A life long witch brought up in a family tradition, taught by a mother who was taught by her mother.  Her website is full of wisdom and knowledge and is well worth a visit:  

I am grateful to Ardriana for allowing me permission to share just some of her wisdom.

George Knowles.

Best Wishes and Blessed Be


Site Contents - Links to all Pages


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A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


Sabbats and Festivals:


The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:


Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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