What Is Wicca And What Is Not
Many people these days have a rather skewed view of what Wicca is and what it entails overall. Most people have grown up seeing all kinds of movies and television shows about witches where they may show symbols or material found in the Wiccan religion and mention Wicca as pertaining to the plot. However most people do not truly know what Wicca is! This unfortunately has created an atmosphere in which many people misunderstand who Wiccans are and thus treat them as either having an over active imagination, slightly crazy, or just trying to be rebellious against social norms. Thankfully in today’s time Wicca is becoming more and more socially acceptable as people are being taught more and more about the religion. The goal of this article is to attempt to teach the read a little bit more about Wicca and attempt to dispel some common misconceptions about the religion and those who follow it.
What is Wicca?
Wicca is an earth based religion that believes in a God or Goddess. Some traditions believe that there is one supreme being called the All or One which splits itself in two, a God and Goddess. Some traditions worship an entire pantheon of Gods and Goddesses as distinct separate beings. Others simply see each deity as a different aspect of the God or Goddess. Wicca as practiced in today’s time is a reconstructed religion based upon ancient Pagan beliefs that our ancestors followed. This religion was reconstructed by Gerald Gardner a British anthropologist who studied witchcraft for many years as part of a hidden coven in England. In 1951 when the last witchcraft law in England was done away with, Gerald came out with Wicca, re-introducing beliefs in modern society, that many people had thought died out. From Gardner’s tradition of Wicca many more traditions sprang up as people with different beliefs or opinions regarding the Divine and magick formed their own traditions. Eventually Wicca made its way to America where people such as Raymond Buckland, Alex Sanders, Maxine Sanders, Gavin Frost, and Yvonne Frost began to teach it through their own traditions of Wicca. Eventually in 1981 Wicca had become so popular and the demand for its recognition so great, that the Supreme Court ratified it as an official religion of the United States of America, where it became protected under the First Amendment. It was also added to the Armed Forces Chaplain Handbook so that military members and family members could enjoy their religious rights while serving their country.
Wicca is a religion that incorporates a system of magick called witchcraft. Witchcraft by itself is not a religion, rather its a system of magick that focus heavily on what is called folk magick or low magick. It is important to understand that not all Wiccans are witch’s and not all witch’s are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion and those who follow Wicca can practice any system of magick they choose too. Wicca has no governing body, no president or council in charge. Rather each coven or tradition is autonomous with its own inner ruling system. Often there is a High Priest and High Priestess that are in charge of leading the Coven and teaching the new initiates alongside what are called Elders. Wicca does not feature a belief in a Hell or any place similar to that. Wicca instead teaches that Karma will return the consequences of your actions back to you, whether good or bad, times three. So for example if you push some one in anger and they break a leg, Karma (called the Law of Three, Law of Threefold Return, ect) will come back upon you and some thing will happen to you, that you consider three times worse then breaking a leg. However if you do some thing positive such as give a homeless man your jacket in the winter, some thing you consider three times as good will return to you. Some Wiccan traditions also go by the Witches Rede (or Wiccan’s Rede) which will be discussed in a feature article. It is important to note that Wicca does not have any thing like the ten commandments, sins, or laws to govern it. The Wiccan’s Rede is often seen as a guide line instead on ethical behavior. Not all Wiccan’s follow this but a lot do. You’ll also discover that not all Wiccan’s agree on the interpretation of the Rede. The most central belief in Wicca is the following of a part of the Rede which says, “An it harm none, do what ye will”. Many traditions disagree on the exact definition of this statement.
Wiccan’s believe in an afterlife called the Summerlands though the name for this paradise varies from tradition to tradition. Some call it the Otherworld, Valhalla, ect. Wiccan’s do not believe in a Hell as I stated earlier, rather we believe in learning lessons and reincarnation. Wiccan’s have 8 holidays called Sabbat’s a year. These holidays are referred to as the Wheel of The Year in which the Wiccan year starts at Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) and ends at Samhain. In the Wheel of The Year the belief in reincarnation is seen through a symbolic journey of the God and Goddess as the God dies at Lughnasadha and is reborn at Yule. This embodies a rather sacred view of Life, Death, and Rebirth. Some Wiccan traditions also believe in a Holly King and Oak which are two aspects of the God that rule over separate halves of the year. Wiccan’s do not believe in demons from a Christian perspective though some do believe in a type of spirit called a daemon. Daemons are spiritual beings that acted as messengers between the Greek gods and mankind. In modern time we refer to these beings as demons and angels (bad daemons are demons and good daemons are angels) though the Christian’s have a very different view on the nature of these beings as well as their origins. We do not believe in a Satan or a Prince of Evil, however some traditions believe that all of nature has a dark side and a light side. The God and Goddess can be loving or destructive depending on the situation. Some traditions however do believe in the existence of evil though they often do not believe in any sort of evil hierarchy.
What Wiccan’s Do Not Do Or Believe
Wiccan’s do not believe in a Satan nor do they worship any evil or negative spirit/entity. Wiccan’s do not sacrifice animals or humans in order to work magick. We do not use hallucinogenic drugs in order to hold rituals. We do not call up demons or any other negative spirit to work magick. We do not seek to harm any one using magick (though some traditions do believe in self defense of ones self or others) nor do we try to kill people with magick. Wiccan’s do not eat human flesh or consume anything you wouldn’t. We do not dabble in what you would call the Dark Arts nor do we use “love” magick to control your mind. There is no white or black witch as magick is a neutral force that is colorless. It is instead the intentions of the one using the magick that are labeled though many traditions use the terms white magick, black magick, or grey magick to describe what they do. Not all Wiccan’s are Gothic or partake in any kind of Satanic fashion or belief system. We do not all have tattoos, play dungeons and dragons, or wear body jewlery. We are not all hippies, vegetarians (I for one love meat), or tree huggers. We are not pot heads, crack addicts, lunatics, rebellious adolescents, or people looking to induce “shock value” into our lives. We are average people all over the world who seek an alternative spirituality that is separate from the Patriarchal religions of today’s time.
I hope that this article gives you a basic understanding of what Wicca is and helps to dispel some of the crazy notions people have about us. We really are not that different from you or any one else. We hold the same jobs, shop at the same stores, eat the same kinds of food, watch the same kinds of shows, ect. We are simply different in our belief systems. Hopefully this helps you the readers learn a little bit more about the religion of Wicca and perhaps through reading this article you too can educate other people on what Wicca truly is.
About the Author: Alexander LaFountain (known in the Pagan community as Merlinnus Starhawk or Merlinnus Nighthawk) is the founder of the Northern Woods Tradition of Wicca as well as the High Priest of the Oak Coven (main coven of the Northern Woods), Ghosts of Avalon (Coven inside the National Paranormal Society), and the Distinctive Faith Group Leader of the Circle of Avalon (Sacred Well Congregation) which is an Open Circle for military Pagans in Georgia, USA. He has over 7 years of experience as a Wiccan and is a student of the Grey School of Wizardry. He is an avid paranormal investigator with Ghost Watchers Paranormal Investigations Georgia and a Representative in NPS. He enjoys writing, reading, and thunderstorms. haneadinNativeRepatcher