What is Wicca?
Sometimes called 'The Craft' or 'The Craft of the Wise', Wicca as it was named back in 1940's by Gerald Gardner, a British civil servant is an earth-based religion. Containing references to Celtic deities, symbols, and seasonal celebrations based on ancient tradition such as the cycles of the seasons, the balance between light and dark, cold and heat.
Wicca is a belief based, in part, on ancient northern European Pagan beliefs in the fertility Goddess and her consort, the horned God. Although religious name is new, some of its sources pre-date the Christian era by many centuries.
Ceremonial tools are used to invoke magic.
Wicca's believe in a duo theistic deity structure: a Goddess and a God. Further, the Goddess has three aspects: Maiden, Mother and Crone. They represent sexuality, fertility and wisdom.
There is one golden rule that Wicca follow; it is the concept of harm none. Known as the Wiccan Rede, it states, "Harm None, do what thou wilt." This means do as you wish, as long as it does not harm others, yourself or the earth. By beginning your day with an intention to 'harm none' and by carefully reviewing implications of your actions, you can avoid prohibited behaviour such as domination, manipulation and control.
So how can you set your intention to harm none?
Listen, be interactive in conversations, do not gossip, include everyone, don't judge, smile, protect the environment, enjoy yourself, ask yourself; "did everyone I saw today benefit from meeting me?"Interesting History
From the beginning of time, humanity has performed earth based rituals to pay homage to the creation of life, fertility, hunting and a good harvest. Some of these early traditional prayers and celebrations are referred to as Pagan beliefs. The word Pagan originally meant country dweller, which is where the creation and fertility beliefs were most important.
As societies and human needs expanded so did the varieties of gods and goddesses. Many of the gods and goddesses had traits were like humans and belief evolved that if we were created by the gods and goddess that we would retain a spark of their divine traits so that we too were in part gods and goddesses.
Typically in history we find belief systems that omit the representation of one sex, that particular gender is generally treated as inferior. In almost all modern religious practices, there is an uneven balance between male and female deities.
Historic societies and trade grew and the separation between city and country living. Those in the city did not rely on the cycles of nature to survive while those in the country were bound to the earth to make a living.
Christianity began its hold in the cities but kept some of its links to the older pagan ceremonies. The Pagan celebration days were connected to the cycle of seasons, the balance of light and dark, cold and heat. Spring, rebirth and renewal, Ostrara, became the Christian practice of Easter, with pagan symbology like the hare and eggs. The longest Night, Mid-Winter or otherwise known as Yule, became the Christian birth of Christ and hope of the light within the darkest time of the year. Pagan symbology was burning logs and spiced wine.
In the 15th Century, pressure was increased to convert to the new religion of Christianity, to a point where it became a life or death choice. In 1484 the 'Malleus Maleficarum' (the Witch Hammer) was released, listing legal instructions for the persecution of witches, written by two German Dominican monks named Kramer and Sprenger. Innocent people lost their land, wealth, herbal traditions and often their lives as fear and paranoia ruled. Country dwellers that were loyal to the old traditions were not free to perform rituals, so they met in smaller groups at night and hid their true beliefs. Myths were spread to instil fear, ensuring all were converted to the new religious way.Some include:Flying on Broomsticks - Witches fly with their minds. In the old days they symbolically jumped through the fields as a fertility rite. From a distance it may have looked like they were flying.Witches can control you mind - Stories only, but they can help you to focus your own mind.Witches use body parts to cook up potions in a cauldron Some of the traditional names for plants, herbs, flowers were a little unnerving like; Baby's breath, Pig's ears and colt's foot.Witches assist Satan - Witches do not believe in heaven or hell so how can they believe in Satan?
A look at Wicca today:
"Wicca, as you practice the religion today, is a new religion, barely fifty years old. The techniques you use at present are not entirely what your elders practiced even thirty years ago. Of course, threads of 'what was' weave through the tapestry of 'what is now.' ...in no way can we replicate to perfection the precise circumstances of environment, society, culture, religion and magic a hundred years ago, or a thousand. Why would we want to ? The idea is to go forward with the knowledge of the past, tempered by the tools of our own age."
Silver RavenWolf, written in 1998
What does it involve to become a Wicca?
Recognition of the existence of the Goddess, and her consort the horned God. These may be viewed as real living personal entities, or as symbols.Following the Wiccan Rede "Harm None, do what thou wilt."
Wiccans typically go through a dedication ritual, this initiation is the start of their training and a declaration of an intent to study Wicca. After 1 year, they may choose to conduct an initiation ritual.
To become Wicca, you can either join a coven or conduct your rituals by yourself. Wicca's engage in rituals, either alone (solitary practitioners) or within a coven of other Wiccans.
Ask yourself why you want to become a Wiccan, if it is to cast spells to gain power over other people then it's not for you. The Wiccan Rede prohibits any manipulation, coercion or harm. Spells must be for the good of all. Plus spells work best when you cast them yourself.
Becoming a Wiccan will require a great deal of personal discipline and effort as well as continual learning. Beware however, there are still many misinformed or TV educated people who associate Wicca with evil worship. This is why some Wicca choose to practise in secret.
What do Wicca Rituals involve?
Casting a Circle - Sacred PlaceInvocation of a deity/deities - Calling on the help of the one goddess/god or more to guide you.Ritual - Spell casting, Magic, Community Meal, Dancing, Reading, Singing etcClosing the Circle - Restoration of sacred place to ordinary usage.
In a Nutshell
So what is Wicca in a Nutshell? It's a belief in a single god/goddess that is both male and female. It's abiding to the law of 'harm none', and making a concentrated effort to do so to your neighbours, yourself and the earth. It's about building inner strength by recognising your weaknesses and making a positive change for improvement. Enjoying life, giving back to the community and protecting the earth and our future.
Spell Resource (coming soon)
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