So You want to be a Wiccan?
Or do you just want to be different?
Wicca is a serious religion, think carefully before choosing to follow it, it must feel right for you. I Personally am not a Wiccan, although i would love to be, but i know i would not be able to practise Wicca without abusing it. But i am indeed very interested in it and now i am going to set the record straight on what Wicca Really is and what it means to people...
Deeeply rooted in nature and emphasizing reverence and respect for all living things, Wiccan Practices and beliefs have their roots in the world's ancient religions, which recognized that the health of the body, and the health of the spirit are often one and the same.
Including a wealth of information on the use of herbs in healing magick, this practical introduction to the craft of the wise will guide you as you learn to recognize and embrace the healing power of the natural world around you.
What Is Wicca?
Wicca is first and foremost a religion--a religion based in a respect of nature.The religion stresses living in harmony with all creatures and the earth. It honours a Goddess and a God, who are contained in all nature and in ourselves. The Goddess and God are an aid for Wiccans--also known as withces--to focus inner power and the power that is found in all of nature, and are seen in many aspects and known by many names.Wiccans Believe that the Divine is in us, not just around us or watching from somewhere above us. Wicca is practiced in a group (known as a coven or grove) or alone (as a solitary).
Other names for this recognized religion include Modern Witchcraft, the Craft of the wise, or the Craft, but the most common name for the religion is Wicca. There has been debate on the origin of the word Wicca. It is said to be from the Old English words Wicce and Wicca. Many say these words are from the root wit, meaning 'wisdom'. Others say the Indo-European roots Wic and Weik meaning 'to bend or turn' are the basis for the term. The word Wicca (pronounced Wick-kah) is an Anglo-saxon word meaning 'wise' and is actually the masculine form of the word. It is also used in the feminine form Wicce (Pronounced Wick-kay), particularly by feminist followers.
Wicca is based in pre-Christian European folklore and mythology, but is heavily influenced by modern texts by writers such as James Frazer and Jules Michelet. Wicca attempts to connect to the Mother Goddess (Mother Earth, Mother Nature) in her aspects of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Although it is not a prehistoric religion, some of it's central ideas are based in the Paleolithic Age when, according to anthropologists, a God of hunting and a goddess of fertility were worshipped. The power of nature inspired ancient people's belief in higher powers that controlled rain, winds, thunder, fire and the like. And then there was the biological power of women as the givers of life-magickal creatures indeed.
Individuality, personal spiritual growth, and creativity are encourages in the Wiccan community. To be Wiccan is to respect all creatures that inhabit this earth with us, and to do our best to live in harmony with them. Wicca is a celebration of life. It is being able to see the wonder of a bird in flight, the way a tree creates new leaves each year, the growth of a flower from a tiny seed. A celebration of the wonders and beauty of this planet we are on, and a concern to preserve it--That is Wicca. It is a journey of appreciation and dedication to learning.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WICCA
1. Wicca is NOT a surviving ancient pagan religion of western Europe. It is a modern religion, consturcted in the twentieth century by using texts from the period of inquisition as well as more modern writings from the last 1880's to the 1930's.
2. Wiccans are NOT satanists!!! Confusion exists because some terms, such as coven and sabbat, are used in both Wicca and Satanism. Both groups have drawn ideas and terms from Christian texts of the inquisition and other works, but they are vastly different.
3. A male witch is NOT a warlock. Warlock is a scottish word meaning 'oath breaker' that first came into vouge after the Inquisition, and then enjoyed a revival in Hollywood movies. Male, or Female, it does not matter--both are witches.
4. Not all witches wear black. An object appears a certain colour because it absorbs all other colours of light except for the colour that we see, which it reflects. If we were to mix all the reflected colours, the result would be black. Because of it's absorbent, receptive nature, black is a favourite colour to use in ritual and is said to be receptive to psychic energy. But during holidays, Wiccans often wear other appropriate colours. For instance, if we are celebrating spring, a green robe is a good choice; and a rich brown works for autum. Not all of us cover ourselves wth jewelry decorated with pentegrams, either.
5. Hollywood has always been guilty of depicting withces as cackling, ugly old women mixing poisonous brews in steaming caludrons. In recent years, witches have been portrayed as troubled teens solving their problems with dark rituals. The entertainment industry has consistently shown witches in a negative light, and people assume that is the reality. We are nothing like that (although many teens are drawn to Wicca). Film and television depictions of witches place too much emphasis on spells and little of spirituality.
A witch may wear a pentagram with the single point up or the single point down. Some traditions have different levels of initiation and wearing point down will indicate that the individual has "graduated" to a higher level. Satanists always wear the Pentagram with the single point down.
There is a theory that in ancient times all women menstruated at the same time--the time of the full moon. It is said that the moon has a powerful influence onthe body. Menstrual cycles average twenty-eight days, following the lunar cycle taher than the calendar month. Women who live or work together will often start their period at about the same time.
There are three major traditions, known as trads, found in the Craft: Gardnarian, Alexandrian, and British Traditional. They are all British origin. There are other traditions, as well, that intergrate concepts from Greek, Celtic, Roman and Egyptian folklore, to name but a few.
There is also a secretive side of Wicca. It is inaccessible to most. Some traditions have degrees of initiation. At each degree, more "mysteries" are revealed to the initiates. Structured rituals are performed using images, forms, and languages in a religious, magickal and mystery context.
The Gardnarian tradition was founded by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950's. He is creditied with the revival of the Craft. After the repeal of the Witchraft Act in England in 1951, there was a resurgence of interest in what came to be known as "the old ways". Gardner claimed he was initiated into a coven by an hereditary witch with a lineage that was unbroken, but it is now known that the works of Charles Godfrey Leland, Magaret Murray, Rudyard Kipling, ovid, Aleister Crowley and Doreen Valiente, among others, form the basic components of Gardner's rituals. They were not handed down from an old coven. Valiente was a major force in rewriting rituals and bringing the Goddess into the Craft. Gardner's Rituals and structure were drawn from celtic druidry and the mysteries of Freemasonry, the key of solomon, and the Heretic order of the Golden dawn. Gardner combined ideas and rituals from all of these sources, and mixed in a little folk magick.
The Alexandrian tradition was founded by Englishman Alex Saunders in the 1960's. He called himself the "king of the Witches". It is an offshoot of sorts of the Gardnarian trad, as most of the rituals copied and adapted from the Gardnarians.
This Trad has a base comprised of a mix of Gardnarian and Celtic beliefs. Most British Traditionalists have beliefs based on the studies of Janet and Stewart Farrar, the authors of many books (and now videos) on the craft.
Principles of belief
In the autum of 1973, a meeting of witches was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The goeal of this meeting was to find a modern definition of the word witch that would be accepted by the various traditions. The 74 attendants of this meeting formed the Concil of American witches in 1974.
These are the Principles as set by this council. It was originally printed in touchstone , the newsletter of the Council. They disbanded shortley thereafter.
1. We Practise rite to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.
2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique resposibility toward our enviroment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural", but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity--as masculine and feminine--and that this same Creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practise and religious worship.
5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds--sometimes known as the Spiritual world, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner planes etc--and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions of the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honour those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given themselves in leadership.
7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it--a world view and philosophy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
8. Calling onself "Witch" does not make a Witch--but neither does heredity itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and intiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with Nature.
9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.
10. Our Only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that it's institutions have claimed to be "the one true right and only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.
11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with out present, and our future.
12. We do not accept the concept of "absolute evil", nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil" as defined by Christian Tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
13. We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
Wiccans adhere to what is knwon as the Wiccan Rede, or Rule of three. This short poem describes the simple rule of three: Whatever energy you send out, for good or bad, will return to you three times as strong. Click Wiccan Rede to read the Poem.